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

What is difference between Rhododendrons and Azaleas
April 23, 2008 - I am replanting my entire front yard as a native woodland garden (I am on Long Island, NY). I am having a hard time finding native rhododendrons and/or azaleas. I would prefer to remain true to the ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 10, 2010 - I have a tall leafy green plant growing in my garden. It has long flowering limbs that bear a pod that looks like a tiny green pepper. It then turns purple and falls off. The flower that remains is...
view the full question and answer

What is a Demaree Rose?
August 14, 2013 - Have been told the Apache Plume is the Wild Rose after which the Wild Rose Pass north of Ft. Davis was named. However, other research indicates it was the Demaree Rose. What is true and are there ...
view the full question and answer

Difference between invasive Chinese and Japanese wisterias and native wisteria
September 12, 2014 - Dear Mr or Ms Smarty Plants, Is there any way I can tell for sure if my wisteria is native? I bought it at a place when it was in bloom that sold a lot of native plants. I Would like to know for sure...
view the full question and answer

Trees with white blossoms in Crockett, Texas
March 21, 2015 - What are the trees that are blooming just East of Crockett Texas (off of Hwy 21) right now - fairly large trees - multitude of white blooms - almost like a wild plum or pear, but tree seems too large?...
view the full question and answer

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