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 - March 10, 2009

From: Madison, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Need help identifying shrub with large thorns in Tennessee.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


A shrub?with very large thorns. Main stock of plant woody with a gray and white splotchy bark at base. Branches are green and shiney and have very large heavy thorns spaced several inches apart on opposite sides of the branch. Thorns start turning gray at terminus and eventually turn totally grey as do branches(from shiney green).Winter no leaves on plant.Growing in thicket of this plant on 19th century house site.


You've provided some good information, but it is very difficult - and usually not possible - for Mr. Smarty Plants  to identify a plant from a written description.  However, we will be happy to try to ID your mystery plant from good-quality digital images.  Usually a series of well-focused, close-up images of the plant's leaves, flowers, stems (especially the thorns) , fruit (if available), and an overall shot of the plant yield the best results.  Please go to the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants Plant Identification page for specific details on submitting images for identification. 



More Shrubs Questions

Cottage-style landscaping for Chesapeake VA
August 02, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plant staff, I recently moved into a cottage style home that has a poured concrete/paver patio. I am trying to come up with ideas for plantings that would 1. give me a bit of privacy,...
view the full question and answer

Shady Container Plant for Austin
August 20, 2014 - I am looking for a tall plant/small shrub/ornamental grass for a very large pot that is placed against the north wall of our Austin home. That spot gets some morning sun in the summer, but virtually ...
view the full question and answer

Age before blooming of a Fendler rupicola from Elmendorf TX
April 06, 2014 - How old does a Fendlera rupicola plant have to be before it will bloom?
view the full question and answer

Planting Suggestions for a Lake Home in Wayne County, MO
April 03, 2014 - We have a lake home in Wayne County, MO at Lake Wappapello. The soil is very rocky. We recently cleared an area around our home of assorted dead trees, some cedars and what seemed like tons of vines. ...
view the full question and answer

Planting shrubs and flowers under pine trees in New York
July 15, 2008 - We just started to plant flowers and the whole back side of our yard is pine trees. I was wondering what types of flowers can be planted under them, and what kind of plants or shrubs can be planted un...
view the full question and answer

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