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

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Tuesday - April 22, 2008

From: Mars, PA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Vines
Title: Identification of a vine with thorns and blue berries.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

> Hello, > We have acreage in Butler County, PA. I recently discovered a vine that I can't identify. It's has many small spines all over the stem, then very large and stiff thorns. It has dark green oval shaped leaves. I cut it down out of a tree in the fall when it had small blackish berries. Now I have many small plants starting. It's very hard to pull out the ground even though it's small. Do you know what this is? It's in a narrow tree line that separates old farm fields. > > > > thanks >

ANSWER:

When its comes to identifying plants from written descriptions, a picture is worth more than a thousand words. Since many of us here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center are visual learners, I suggest that you go to the "Ask Mr. Smarty Plamts" page and follow the directions for sending images located under Plant Identification in the bottom right portion of the page.

In the meantime, I'm going to stick my neck out and guess that you may have a member of the genus Smilax. There are two species that occur in Butler County that could be possibilities: Smilax rotundifolia (roundleaf greenbrier) and Smilax tamnoides (bristly greenbrier).

Another suggestion is to check out help that is closer to home and contact the Pennsylvania Native Plant Society and click on Forums on their website. This site offers help with plant identification.

 

 

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