Smilax L.

Smilax is a large genus of probably more than 350 species. Most are confined to the tropics and subtropics; some extend to more temperate regions. None is native in Belgium but a few species are cultivated as ornamentals (see for instance Alexander 1986).

  • Leaves leathery, variable in size and shape but at least young leaves narrowly lanceolate, hastate to sagittate at base, almost always with spiny margins, often with white blotches. Inflorescence compound, of several umbel-like clusters. Berry black or red, ca. 3-4 mm across === 1. Smilax aspera
  • Leaves not or only slightly leathery, broadly ovate, truncate to cordate at base, margins rough or with fine teeth but never spinose, never blotched with white. Inflorescence a single umbel. Berry black, ca. 6 mm across === 2. Smilax rotundifolia


Alexander J.C.M. (1986) Smilax. In: Walters S.M. & al. (eds.), The European Garden Flora, vol. 1. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 269-271.

APG III (2009) An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants. APG III. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 161(2):105-121.

Cameron K.M. & Fu C.X. (2006) A nuclear rDNA phylogeny of Smilax (Smilacaceae). Aliso 22:

Chase M.W. (2004) Monocot relationships: an overview. Amer. J. Bot. 91(10): 1645-1655. 

Clement E.J. & Foster M.C. (1994) Alien plants of the British Isles. BSBI, London: XVIII + 590 p.

DeFilipps R.A. (1980) Smilax. In: Tutin T.G. & al. (eds.), Flora Europaea, vol. 5. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 74.

Holmes W.C. (2002) Smilacaceae. In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee (eds.), Flora of North America, vol. 26. Oxford University Press, New York-Oxford: 468-478.

Hoste I., Verloove F., Nagels C., Andriessen L. & Lambinon J. (2009) De adventievenflora van in België ingevoerde mediterrane containerplanten. Dumortiera 97: 1-16.

Roloff A. & Bärtels A. (2006) Flora der Gehölze (2e Auflage). Ulmer, Stuttgart: 844 p.

Verloove F. & Lambinon J. (2008) Neophytes in Belgium: corrections and adjustments. Syst. Geogr. Pl. 78: 63-79.

Taxonomic name: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith