Stem. - Climbing, three to fifteen feet high. Leaves. - Ovate, or rounded heart-shaped, or abruptly cut off at base, shining. Flowers. - Greenish or yellowish, small, clustered, unisexual. Perianth. - Six-parted. Stamens. - six. Pistil. - One, with three spreading stigmas. (Stamens and pistils occurring on different plants.) Fruit. - A bluish-black berry.
One whiff of the foul breath of the carrion flower suffices for its identification. Thoreau likens its odor to that of "a dead rat in the wall." It seems unfortunate that this strikingly handsome plant which clambers so ornamentally over the luxuriant thickets which border our lanes and streams, should be so handicapped each June. Happily with the disappearance of the blossoms, it takes its place as one of the most attractive of our climbers.
The common green-brier, S. rotundifolia, is a near relation which is easily distinguished by its prickly stem.
The dark berries and deeply tinted leaves of this genus add greatly to the glorious autumnal display along our roadsides and in the woods and meadows.