Common greenbrier is a pioneer species that forms impenetrable thickets of prickly branches, which creates good cover for small mammals and birds. The persistent fruits are an important late winter and early spring food for wintering birds including northern cardinals and white-throated sparrows.
Common greenbrier generally blooms between April and June. It occurs in the Eastern United States as far north as Maine and as far south as Florida. The fruits generally ripen sometime in the fall.