Perennial climbers. Leaves alternate, entire, longitudinal veins convergent and with prominent reticulate venation, often with prickles; stalks with stipules that end in tendrils. Flower clusters axillary, stalked, cymose or paniculate. Flowers unisexual with the sexes on separate plants. Floral segments 6 in 2 whorls. Stamens mostly 6, free or united to form a column. Ovary superior with 3 chambers and mostly 1 ovule per chamber. Fruit a berry containing 1- several seeds.
The genera Eustrephus and Geitonoplesium once included in this family are now placed in Philesiaceae.
3 genera with about 320 species from tropical and temperate regions.Australia has 1 genus with 7 species.
Often prickly, tendril vines having leaves with convergent parallel veins and prominent netted veins.
Source: (2005). Smilacaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 5. Flowering plants. Monocotyledons. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.