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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.

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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.

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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!

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Tuesday - March 03, 2009

From: Greeneville, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Vines
Title: Identification of vine with dangling fruit
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in a hollow with rolling hills all around. there are wild grape vines, wild cherry trees, walnut trees, rasberry canes, black berry canes, a persimmon tree,(the asgtringent kind), maples, hicory trees, wild roses and the small pink ones that climb. Now that you are familiar with my soil and climate I will ask my question. Growing around my concord grape vines that I planted is a thin delicate vine with fruit that looks like eggplant. The leaves are shaped like the concord grape vine leaves. The fruit does not hang in clusters. It dangles individually on a hair like stand attached to the vine. It was sweet and the skin was like that of a muscadine in texture and the inside was like that of a grape with one or two seeds inside. What is it?

ANSWER:

You can actually search for your vine yourself in our Native Plant Database by choosing 'Tennessee' from the Select State or Province category under COMBINATION SEARCH and then selecting 'Vine' from the Habit (general appearance) category.  This will give you 68 different vines native to Tennessee.  Most of the entries have photographs. Looking through the possibilities, here is my suggestion for what your vine might be:

Melothria pendula (Guadeloupe cucumber)

You can see more information and photographs from Vanderbilt University and 2bnTheWild.com.  The fruit turns black as it matures.

If this doesn't happen to be the vine you described and you have (or can get) photos, please send them to us and we will do our best to identify it.  Please see the instructions for submitting photos on the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page.


Melothria pendula

 

 

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