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
1 rating

Friday - June 15, 2007

From: Friendswood, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Control of Smilax bona-nox (saw greenbrier)
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

We have some property near Round Mountain, Texas. Under and in the oak trees is a vine that has a heart-shaped, shiny leaf and nasty thorns. I'd like to know the name and how best to try to get rid of it in human-populated areas. Thanks.

ANSWER:

Not all native plants are welcome in the garden all of the time. This is one that causes many people a lot of consternation. Your vine is likely a Cat-brier, probably Smilax bona-nox (saw greenbrier). While its new growth is delicious as a steamed vegetable, most people overlook Cat-brier's culinary advantages because of its other, less noble characteristics - the ones with which you are already familiar.

Smilax makes a thick, hardened root in which it stores water and nutrients. Hand pulling Cat-brier usually only breaks off the top-growth which the root quickly replaces. Dig and destroy these root storage organs and you will destroy the plant. This is never easy and is often impracticle or impossible. Cutting new growth a few inches above the soil and painting the remaining stub with an herbicide labeled for that purpose is the most common control method.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Visual difference between Yarrow and Queen Anne's lace in Austin, TX?
May 16, 2011 - What is different, visually, between yarrow and Queen Anne's lace?
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant with bell-shaped flowers
January 03, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am in need of a plant name to purchase. It is absolutely beautiful. The plant has light green leaves, the flowers that bloom look like bells (of course they hang upside down...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a tree in Florida with bell-shaped red flowers
November 23, 2012 - A friend in Florida has asked about identification of a tree with a flower none of us have ever seen. It starts with a green pod, then flowers into, what looks to me like a Chinese lantern, or bell. I...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
April 06, 2010 - In spot in the garden where tomatoes grew last this year, previous to planting what looks to me like a shamrock plant came up until it bloomed. Now it looks like some of the fuschia plants only the le...
view the full question and answer

Pictures to Mr. Smarty Plants from Bay Point CA
October 17, 2013 - Is there any way to send you a picture of my Mulberry tree, the Jade and the Spider Plants that are growing in my back yard so you can see what I'm talking about.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center