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Native Plant Trust: Go Botany Discover thousands of New England plants

Family: Smilacaceae — catbrier family

This family consists of herbaceous vines or woody lianas that are usually armed with prickles and climb by means of tendrils formed from stipules. The leaves are alternate on the stem and have 3 prominent veins on the leaf surface radiating outward from the leaf base, between which lie networks of smaller veins. The small flowers are usually arranged in stalked inflorescences produced from the leaf axils and are greenish or yellowish in color. The flowers are unisexual, having either pollen-bearing or ovule-bearing parts. Each flower has 6 tepals. The pollen-bearing flowers have 6 stamens. The ovule-bearing flowers has one superior ovary that matures as a fleshy berry.

This family’s genera in New England

Visit this family in the Dichotomous Key