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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.

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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.

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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.

 
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Friday - June 22, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Tentative identification of Ibervillea lindheimeri
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live close to the Center and found a plant in the park near my house I'd like identified. It was a vine with bright red fruit on it. The fruit was about the size of a cherry tomato but was oblong. It has a hard rind with bright orange pulp and black seeds the size of a BB. The vine didn't have any flowers on it but could it be a passionflower? Thank you.

ANSWER:

Most likely your vine is Ibervillea lindheimeri (Lindheimer's globeberry or balsam gourd). It is very common on the grounds of the Wildflower Center and ours are covered with the bright red fruits right now. Another possibility is Passiflora foetida (Corona de Cristo or fetid passionflower) which has bright red fruit about the size you describe. It is native to South Texas, but is often planted elsewhere and could be an escapee from someone's garden.

If one of these isn't the vine you saw, please send us photos and we will be happy to have another try at identifying it. For instructions on sending digital photos for us to identify, please read Plant Identification on the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page.


Ibervillea lindheimeri

Ibervillea lindheimeri

 

 

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