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

Identification of blue wildflower on roadsides in Massachusetts
July 28, 2012 - What is the blue wildflower planted on roadsides and highways in Massachusetts?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
September 29, 2010 - What is the name of the beautiful pink flowers with tiny Orchid-like blossoms occurring now all alongside the highways in the Bee Cave, TX and hill country area? Is it "slenderleaf false foxglove",...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
August 31, 2009 - I need to identify a plant with broad leaves from a central base, no stalk, it also has a large inverted pinecone shaped central pod purplish in color. It is in heavy shade. Approx 2 ft high. Thank yo...
view the full question and answer

Identification of bushes with red berries in Tennessee
January 31, 2012 - I was recently traveling thru Clarksville, TN and saw these bushes (at the shopping mall) that had clusters of small red berries on them. They were not a Holly that I know of. The leaves were not th...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
September 25, 2012 - I have a plant that was in a funeral arrangement. The plant has green leaves with darker green spots on it. I do not know what kind of plant it is, nor do I know how much light the plant needs on a ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center