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

Tuesday - July 29, 2008

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

QUESTION:

I have found what resembles a gooseberry growing from what appears to be a grapevine trellising on a fence beside a lake in East Texas. The stems are smooth and slender, nad as I stated before vine up a fence next to a small lake. The leaves are shaped like grape leaves. The plant's fruit grows on a single stem, and the fruit starts out pale green, and darkens as the fruit ripens to nearly black, although you can still see green in sunlight. What is this, and is it edible?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants assumes you mean the European gooseberry, Ribes uva-crispa. The vine that grows in Henderson County that most closely fits your description is Melothria pendula (Guadeloupe cucumber). The fruit is much the same size and shape and its leaves do look like grape leaves. Here are more photos. According to the Poisonous Plants of North Carolina database, it's probably not a good idea to eat the berry. It isn't highly toxic but it acts as a strong laxative and could have unpleasant consequences if eaten!

If this isn't your mystery plant, please send us photos and we will do our best to identify what it is. Please visit the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page to read the instructions (under "Plant Identification") for submitting photos.


Melothria pendula

Melothria pendula

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identfication for Roosevelt Park, NY
August 28, 2009 - Looking for the name and chemical breakdown of a tree. Its leaves are green with heart like puffs blooming out. This tree was seen at Roosevelt Park, Long Island NY 11575
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
March 15, 2011 - I don't know where this plant is from! I hope you can still help! I was given a plant,about 8in tall,stem and limbs are yellow it doesn't grow leaves it just has thorns do you have any idea what it ...
view the full question and answer

Yellow-blossomed Shrub that Occurs in Arizona and Texas
May 08, 2012 - What is the name of the large shrubs you will see in Arizona with the bright yellow blossoms. They grow wild everywhere, and I also see them in the town. Could you please tell me the name of them, s...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
September 21, 2009 - NEAR ABILENE STATE PARK GREEN RODS SHOOT UP PURPLE BLOOM MID TO LATE SEPTEMBER LONG AND SLENDER WITH GREEN SPIKES ALMOST LIKE A PINE OR EVERGREEN COMES EVERY YEAR NO MATTER HOW MUCH RAIN WHAT IS IT?...
view the full question and answer

Identificaation of volunteer plant in Maine
July 31, 2007 - I have a volunteer in my garden in Maine that I have been unable to identify. It is a perennial that grows in full sun. It has formed a thick mat of plants whose leaves are about and its leaves are d...
view the full question and answer

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