En EspaŅol

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?


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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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


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?


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

Is the Ashe juniper native from Round Mountain TX
June 23, 2010 - Some friends and I disagree on something, and I hope you will settle the argument. Are the cedars found in the Texas hill country (ashe juniper) native or not?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
October 01, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Ever since we received this (much needed and wonderful) rain in Austin, my gardens and yard are being swamped with these tiny, green clover-like plants. I've never seen it ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 07, 2011 - Please help me identify this volunteer plant in my back yard in Austin, TX. It has long thorns. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant with purple flower and tomato-like fruit
April 24, 2012 - Along the Lake Erie shoreline in Buffalo there is a summer blooming plant with a purple flower and hard flattened tomato like fruit, diameter of a quarter. It has pretty small green leaves with fine ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identfication
August 14, 2009 - a vine plant with small white flowers with a small red flower on the end of the bloom,looks like a little red bird sitting on the flower.It is beautiful.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center