The Carrion Flower emits a remarkably putrid odour, so offensive and disagreeable that Thoreau says: "It smells exactly like a dead rat in the wall." Happily, however, this objectionable feature lasts only through the flowering season, and then the ornamental features of this rather handsome vine should be appreciated. Especially in the fall is it attractive, when the dark fruit clusters contrast so beautifully with its variegated leaves. The tough, round, smooth, green stalk is frequently angled and much-branched. It is thorn-less, and climbs gracefully in and out, and over and under surrounding vegetation, supporting itself en route by means of numerous small and twining tendrils, which spring from the base of the leaves. The large, smooth, sharply pointed, bright green leaves are egg-shaped, heart-shaped, or blunt at the base. They are tough, thin-textured, frequently downy beneath, strongly ribbed and toothless. The arrangement is close and alternating, and they are set on short or long stems. From fifteen to eighty small, rankly scented, yellowish green, six-parted flowers are gathered into a half-round floral cluster, which is borne on a long, slender stem growing from the axils of the leaves. In the fall the flowers are succeeded by a cluster of bluish black berries. The flowers are both staminate and pistilate, and occur on separate plants. The Carrion Flower is common along river banks and moist thickets, where it blossoms from April to June, from New Brunswick to Manitoba and the Dakotas, south to the Gulf States and Nebraska.