What are these ellptical-leaved Smilax anyway?

Some of you know I'm nuts about Smilax. They are just so variable and puzzling, and they spark so many questions about ecology and evolution.

As I tried to identify Smilax observations on iNaturalist, one morph in particular had me scratching my head. This form has little rounded, more or less elliptical, leathery leaves, oriented upward, with veins that are conspicuous and yellow seen from the upper side, but less evident from the lower. Typically the leaves also have mucronate tips (round but with a little point). They seem to crop up almost exclusively along the coast, from South Carolina to Panhandle Florida or maybe even Louisiana. What are they?

I decided to collect a bunch of these observations into one project so I could easily compare photos and map out where these are occurring, and also easily point them out to others. So this (https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/smilax-q1-elliptical-leaves) is that project. I'll do subsequent posts to show how and if I come to a definite conclusion. If you're reading this, you can help!

Janet

Posted by janetwright janetwright, January 27, 2019 12:03

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