Journal archives for February 2022

February 28, 2022

Things frequently confused with Smilax.

I've been building a list of plants that people on iNaturalist tend to call "Smilax" when they aren't. Here's what I have so far, and I'll amend it when I get other examples. These are good ones to consider if you think you've got a Smilax but aren't sure.

The top three candidates:
Carolina snailseed, Cocculus carolinus,

Wild yam, Dioscorea villosa

Autumn Clematis, Clematis terniflora (notice it actually has 3-part compound leaves that are opposite on the stem).

Other foolers:

Bengal trumpet, Thunbergia (Florida)

Viola, when first emerging, can look like Smilax herbacea or other non-woody Smilax.


Elfin shoes Croomia pauciflora

Devil's walking stick, Aralia spinosa,

Stickseed, Hackelia virginiana (midwest) -

American Water-Plantain, Alisma subcordatum, especially young ones (

American plantain, Plantago rugelii ( Notice the hairy leaf surface, which Smilax doesn't have. Also other Plantago (

Wild sarsaparilla, Aralis nudicaulis -
(this doesn’t look like Smilax, but some people know the name “Sarsaparilla vine” for Smilax pumila and end up putting this label on it).

I've been fooled by some of these many times!

Posted on February 28, 2022 10:15 PM by janetwright janetwright | 7 comments | Leave a comment