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

Monday - June 16, 2008

From: Hillsdale, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of thorny plant in Michigan
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

i live in southern michigan and have a thorny plant with oval leaves growing in my flower beds. this used to be a grassy area how did it get there. i live on the edge of town. what plants in my area have thorns

ANSWER:

Here are some possibilities for your plant:

Laportea canadensis (wood nettle or Canada nettle). Here is another photo of the plant.

Rubus flagellaris (northern dewberry) and Rubus pensilvanicus (Pennsylvania blackberry)

Rosa palustris (swamp rose)

Smilax tamnoides (bristly greenbriar)

Solanum carolinense (Carolina horsenettle)

Solanum rostratum (buffalobur nightshade)

Xanthium strumarium (rough cockleburr)

If none of these happens to be it, please send us a photo and we will do our very best to identify it. Visit the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page for instructions on how to submit photos under "Plant Identification".

How did this plant get there? The most likely way is that its seed was deposited there by a bird or mammal who consumed the fruit somewhere else.


Rubus flagellaris

Rosa palustris

Solanum carolinense

Solanum rostratum

Xanthium strumarium

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
August 19, 2008 - Hi, I live in South West Michigan and there is this plant I can't figure out. It has oval leaves in a row on each side of its stems, large thorns, and when the plant is grown it has what seems to be...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
September 24, 2008 - I have a single stem red vine with purple berries growing on it. It is in a cluster of bushes and gets mostly morning and early afternoon sun. The berries also have small bumps at the stem. I have ...
view the full question and answer

Identity of a plant in Ohio
May 11, 2009 - Trying to identify a tree/shrub in Ohio. It grows from 6-8', and blooms through the summer. It has small green glossy leaves, and bell/trumpet shaped flowers in pink, white, or yellow with stripes. T...
view the full question and answer

plant identification, Portulaca pilosa, Kiss-me-quick
October 02, 2007 - There is a small plant with clusters of red-purple flowers and tubular succulent leaves on branching stems I found in the flower boxes at the top of the look-out tower there at the center. I forgot to...
view the full question and answer

Botanical name for a kidney-shaped leaf
June 25, 2009 - Dear Mr Smarty Plants, I love the site.. but I was searching for id on this odd plant I have.. I have lived here a few years now, and have seen them before, never seemingly to have a flower..but ...
view the full question and answer

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