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The nine-coordinate SmIII cation in [Sm{O2CCH(OH)CH(OH)CO2}{O2CCH(OH)CH(OH)CO2H}(OH2)3], or [Sm(C4H4O6)(C4H5O6)(H2O)3]n, is located on a crystallographic twofold axis. The coordination geometry is capped square-antiprismatic and is defined by four O atoms derived from carboxyl­ate/carboxyl­ic acid groups, two hydroxyl O atoms and three water mol­ecules. The SmIII atoms are linked by the tartrate ligands into layers, which are connected via O—H⋯O hydrogen bonds involving the carboxyl­ate and hydroxyl O atoms, and water mol­ecules.