Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - January 24, 2014

From: Gallatin, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification, Poisonous Plants
Title: Identification of shrub with red berries in Tennessee
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, I've got a shrub in my backyard; it has leaves off in groups of 3 and it has multiple reddish berries in groups by the dozens. I'm not sure what plant it is. The shrub is stick-like and approximately four feet high. I've got pictures of the shrub and would like for you to see them. I've got dogs and want to make sure the plant isn't poisonous. Thank you for your time.

ANSWER:

Rhus aromatica (Fragrant sumac) fits your description—if you are saying that it has leaves in groups of three, but they are not on the shrub now.   It would be most unusual for the fragrant sumac to have leaves in the winter.  A few might persist, but in general they are a deciduous shrub.  If your shrub is fragrant sumac, it is NOT listed as toxic on the ASPCA Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List – Dogs nor any other poisonous plant database that I consulted.

If fragrant sumac is NOT your plant, then I suggest that you look through the native shrubs for Tennessee by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH on our Native Plant Database, choosing "Tennessee" under Select State or Province and "Shrub" under Habit (general appearance).   This will give you a list of 151 shrubs that are native to Tennessee.   If your shrub is not a native plant, however, it won't appear in our Native Plant Database.   In that case, please visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

More Plant Identification Questions

Identity of plant called 'Bell-flowered Yucca' associated with Lynn Lowrey
January 20, 2011 - Please help identify a plant, the seeds of which are labeled "Bell Flowered Yucca" and " H. lowyrii" (or, presumably, some variant of Lynn Lowrey's name). I believe that this seed was collected ...
view the full question and answer

New thorn/bush tree in Central Texas
September 23, 2013 - In Central Texas, over the last 5 years we have seen a new variety of thorn bush appear. It has very long thorns much like mesquite tree but thorns are every inch or so along the branches. The tree is...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID at the Wildflower Center from Austin
June 18, 2012 - I was at the Wildflower Center today and loved the green plants with delicate white flowers that were in both clay pots in front of the auditorium. Please let me know the name of the plants.
view the full question and answer

Plant identfication
July 30, 2009 - Hello - Can you help me ID a plant? There are a few growing in grassy areas off roadways in Luna, NM. I will attach photos in photo section. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

How to tell the difference between native and non-native thistles
March 13, 2013 - It's thistle time already. There are many plants in the aster family with thistle in their common name. Are "real" thistles only those in the genus Cirsium, or are there others as well? We are tryi...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.