Family, Smilax. Color, greenish. Flowers, of 2 sorts, the staminate bell-shaped, with a 6-divided perianth and 6 stamens; pistillate, with 1 to 3 stigmas and a 3-celled ovary. Fruit, a round, black, 1 to 3-seeded berry. Leaves, nearly round, sharply pointed, 5-nerved, thin at first, becoming thick and shining, alternate, petioled. April to June.
The stems of this vicious vine are square, 4-angled, covered with stout prickles which turn backward. Occasionally the thorns are wanting. The plant climbs by means of tendrils at the base of the leaf-petioles. If a cat brier bars one's way, it is best to turn aside. Some plants are uncompromising, and this is one of them.
Woods, New England to Florida, west to Texas and northward to Minnesota.
S. hispida. - In this species the upper part of the stem is covered with very many slender, straight, fine prickles. Leaves, much like the last, but more heart - shape at base, 7-nerved, with petioles. Flowers, in umbels on flattened peduncles. Fruit, a bluish black berry. May to July.
Damp thickets, Connecticut to Virginia, westward to Kansas and Texas.