We are following the Flora of North America[
] in the treatment of this species. It is treated as a synonym of Smilax maritima Feay ex Alph.Wood in 'Govaerts, R.H.A. (2011). World checklist of selected plant families published update. Facilitated by the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.'
Smilax maritima Feay ex Alph.Wood
Smilax cinnamomifolia Small
Smilax ovata Pursh
Common Name: Cantaque
Smilax smallii is an evergreen, climbing shrub producing a cluster of scantily prickly stems from tuberous rhizomes; the stems are usually more than 10 metres long[
The plant was a major food crop for the Native Americans and the early European settlers. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental and is used as a winter decoration, especially at Christmas[
Southeastern N. America - southeastern Oklahoma to Delaware, south to eastern Texas and Florida
Rich woods, pinewoods, streambanks, edges of fields, swamp margins, ditches, well-drained but not dry soils; at elevations up to 600 metres[
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
The fleshy rhizomes have a texture of firm, crisp apples. They were used by Native Americans and early settlers in the same manner as were potatoes, or else in making bread or mush[
Young, succulent stems - raw or cooked[
]. They can be used as asparagus, or the tender stems can be eaten in salads[
Seed - sow early spring in a warm greenhouse[
]. This note probably refers to the tropical members of the genus, seeds of plants from cooler areas seem to require a period of cold stratification, some species taking 2 or more years to germinate[
]. We sow the seed of temperate species in a cold frame as soon as we receive it, and would sow the seed as soon as it is ripe if we could obtain it then[
]. When the seedlings eventually germinate, prick them out into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first year, though we normally grow them on in pots for 2 years. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer.
Division in early spring as new growth begins[
]. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.
Cuttings of half-ripe shoots, July in a frame[