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

Nomenclatural puzzles
March 25, 2008 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants. I have been looking all day for this information. I am look for a plant that is in the genus Cucumis but not in the family Cucurbitacea. A plant that is in the family Cucurbit...
view the full question and answer

Identification of yellow blooming plants near Temple, Texas
November 07, 2011 - This question may be a challenge. We noticed fields of yellow blooming plants in the fields east of Temple. They appear to be about 4 inches tall. (we were on a bus and could not stop to look cl...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
August 07, 2008 - I have discovered a vine growing in my boysenberry patch, perhaps spread by birds, but I can't find it in any books. It has 5 smooth leaves with burgundy, pinkish racemes, much like snap dragon flow...
view the full question and answer

Sombrerito Mexicano
May 16, 2010 - Ratibida columnifera, almost universally called Mexican hat in English, is native to Texas and also to parts of Mexico, which leads me to wonder what the vernacular name is in Mexican Spanish. Google...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
November 15, 2008 - Hi, I live in ne pa.i have always had a fasvorite wild flower with yellow flowers in the spring. the plant lasts all summer and fall til first frost. It gets small thin bean like seed pods that I save...
view the full question and answer

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