The flowers, which are borne in the leaf-axils at the ends of the stem, are very handsome, the six, generally narrow, petals are bent back and stand erect, and are a rich orange yellow or red in colour; the six stamens project more or less horizontally from the place of insertion of the petals.
The flowers spring in branching spadices from the axils of the leaves, and as the trees are unisexual it is necessary in cultivation to fertilize the female flowers by artificial means.
Smilacoideae are climbing shrubs with broad net-veined leaves and small dioecious flowers in umbels springing from the leaf-axils; the fruit is a berry.
The buds are not unlike those of the ash; and it frequently happens that in the axils of the leaves, instead of one, several buds may be formed.
They are fleshy shrubs, with rounded, woody stems, and numerous succulent branches, composed in most of the species of separate joints or parts, which are much compressed, often elliptic or suborbicular, dotted over in spiral lines with small, fleshy, caducous leaves, in the axils of which are placed the areoles or tufts of barbed or hooked spines of two forms. The flowers are mostly yellow or reddish-yellow, and are succeeded by pear-shaped or egg-shaped fruits, having a broad scar at the top, furnished on their soft, fleshy rind with tufts of small spines.