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Dale W. McNeal

[Perennial herb, shrub] vine, from rhizomes, stolons, or caudices, dioecious. Stem: erect or climbing, generally prickly, scaly below, leafy above. Leaf: simple, opposite or alternate, veins net-like between generally 3 stronger veins; petioles generally with 2+ tendrils near base. Inflorescence: generally umbel [raceme, spike]. Flower: perianth parts 6, in 2 petal-like whorls, free [rarely united], stamens 6, free (as staminodes in pistillate flowers); ovary superior, chambers 2 or 3, style ± 0, stigmas 3, (pistils 0 or reduced, sterile in staminate flowers). Fruit: berry, black, purple, blue, red [orange] (white). Seed: 1–2/chamber.
4(12) genera, 375 species: temperate, tropics. [Holmes 2002 FNANM 26:468–478] —Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.

Perennial herb; caudex generally large, tuber-like. Stem: climbing or trailing, woody below or not, often prickly ± throughout. Leaf: alternate, deciduous or persistent; base rounded to sagittate; petiole tendrils generally 2. Inflorescence: umbels or clusters, axillary. Flower: perianth parts white to ± green or ± yellow; ovary chambers generally 3, stigmas spreading. Fruit: black, purple, blue, or red (white). Seed: 1–6, black.
± 350 species: especially tropics, also temperate North America, eastern Asia. (Greek: origin uncertain) [Cameron & Fu 2006 Aliso 22:598–605]
Unabridged references: [Cameron, K. M. & C. Fu. 2006. A nuclear rDNA phylogeny of Smilax (Smilacaceae). Aliso 22:598–605]

Key to Smilax

Vine; rhizome long, ± zigzag. Stem: 2–3 m, herbaceous; central pith present. Leaf: 5–8 cm, triangular to ± ovate, acute or rigid-tipped, adaxially dark green, abaxially glaucous, minutely papillate, base truncate to ± cordate. Inflorescence: staminate generally < 20-flowered; pistillate generally < 40-flowered; peduncles 5–13.5 cm, stout, ± erect. Flower: perianth parts ± 1.5 mm wide, spreading or reflexed, elliptic to oblong. Fruit: 6–8 mm, dark blue (drying dull maroon). Seed: 6.
Lakesides, streambanks, alder thickets in montane conifer forest; generally 1500–2500 m. Klamath Ranges, Cascade Range. Only herbaceous sp. in western North America; member of Smilax herbacea L. complex, otherwise of eastern North America. May–Jul [Online Interchange] {CNPS list}

Previous taxon: Smilax californica
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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Mar 29 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Smilax, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Mar 29 2015

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Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Smilax jamesii Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.