smilax, common name for a florists' plant of two separate genera ( Asparagus and Smilax ), both of the family Liliaceae ( lily family, although some botanists recognize smilax as a separate family, the Similacaceae). The greenbriers, prickly vines often weedy in North America, belong to the same genus ( Smilax ) as the plants yielding sarsaparilla. Both genera are classified in the division Magnoliophyta , class Liliopsida, order Liliales, family Liliaceae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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