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

Wednesday - August 13, 2008

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


Can you identify a shrub in my backyard? It has odd looking seed pods with three chambers and hard black seeds inside roughly 1/8" in diameter. The pods themselves are brown, hard shell, and hang down, splitting at the bottom to drop seeds. I can email a photo if helpful. Thanks!


This sounds like Ungnadia speciosa (Mexican buckeye) except for the size of the seeds. In Mexican buckeye the seeds are ± 1/2 inch in diameter. If this isn't what you have in your backyard. Please send us photos showing the whole plant and a closeup of the seeds and of the leaves. Visit the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page to read the instructions (under "Plant Identification") for submitting photos. 

Ungnadia speciosa

Ungnadia speciosa

Ungnadia speciosa

Ungnadia speciosa



More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of colicroot and yellow colic-root
March 23, 2005 - There is a green flowering bush with yellow blooms off Taylor road in Dale, Texas (Caldwell County). What type of wildflower or weed is this? Could it possibly be Yellow Colic Root?
view the full question and answer

Identification of Cryptomeria japonica for homeowners association
May 09, 2007 - Good morning. We are wondering if Cryptomeria japonica trees can fit under the term "pine like". We used the term pine like when asking for our home owners associations approval and we put in a Cr...
view the full question and answer

Care for Vauquelinia angustifolia (Chisos Rosewood)
June 08, 2008 - Hello, I have another question for you. A friend has given me a plant called "Chisos Rosewood" which they bought on a whim but decided they couldn't use. It's said to be evergreen. It's about...
view the full question and answer

What is the orange vine that is covering the wildflowers from Llano, TX?
April 10, 2012 - What is the invasive orange vine that is covering the wildflowers on Texas highways?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification, possibly Phytolacca americana (American pokeweed)
September 07, 2010 - What wild growing plant has dark purple berries with a pinkish stem? The purple berries grow on their own stem and not in among the leaves, the leaves are green.
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