En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - July 29, 2014

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a plant in my yard about 3' high, narrow pointy smooth leaves covered with small berries that are turning purple. What is this? a weed? should I eliminate it from my xeriscape garden or welcome it?

ANSWER:

From your description I have two possible suggestions.  Perhaps I should say, rather, that they are guesses.  One is Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) and the other is Phytolacca americana (American pokeweed).  Both have leaves that are narrower than they are long and both produce purple-colored berries.

If neither of these is your plant, please photograph it and visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants for identification.  Be sure to read the "Important Notes" about taking photos of the plant.

Whether you eliminate or not is your choice.  If you like the way it looks, unless it is considered an invasive plant, there is no reason to remove it.

 

From the Image Gallery


American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

American pokeweed
Phytolacca americana

American pokeweed
Phytolacca americana

More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of a plant similar to wild lettuc
March 24, 2008 - I have a plant that was growing by my swimming pool last summer. Its some sort of wild lettuce, but i have been unable to identify it with the resources i have.
view the full question and answer

Books on Lilies
August 27, 2006 - Dear Sir, I am looking for a book covering the Lily Family as a whole, i.e., it should preferably also discuss other Genera than Lilium only. I am especially interested in Lily members occurring in t...
view the full question and answer

Identification of purple wildflower shaped like a bottle rocket
June 19, 2013 - Dear Smarty Plants, the other day while driving north on 281 from San Antonio I noticed a purple wildflower that was shaped sort of like a bottle rocket, seemed to have leaves similar to verbena and ...
view the full question and answer

Dodder, rootless, leafless, parisitic twining plants
May 29, 2006 - Hello, I have been studying wildflowers in California for many years. Yesterday I came across a surprise and I am thus far unable to identify it. As it is raining today, I cannot get a photo, but I...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
May 19, 2009 - I found a large shrub/tree behind an old building on my place. It has small smooth oval leaves 3/4-1 inch; x 1/2 inch, small somewhat clusters of a blue fruit 1/4-1/2 inch diam with one seed in it. Ca...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center