Jan. 22, 2020

Illinois carrion-flower, Smilax illinoensis

Illinois' inch and a half green balls of flowers don't do much to catch our eye. They're just not that attractive. Which makes us the outsiders here. These attract a variety of flies, and some bees and beetles to their nectar. Others bugs feed on the greens or suck the juices. Deer particularly like the foliage. Possums, squirrels, coons and bears eat the berries. Gamebirds and songbirds also appreciate the fruit. And in days of yore, Indians used parts of the plants for medicine, and roots and berries for food. We, on the other hand, didn't get around to even naming this species until 1968. Illinois carrion-flower grows in thickets and borders in AR, IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, MO, NE, OH, WI, and ON. Monroe Co MI, 5/17/15. Greenbrier family, Smilacaceae.