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

Non-native red-tip photinias dying in San Antonio
August 20, 2009 - A 17 year old Red tip Photinia in a hedge shows signs of dying. The main stalks are quite large and offshoots from two of the stalks have brittle, drooping leaves. The center of the plant looks norm...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen native shrubs in Long Island, NY
April 17, 2009 - I would like to plant evergreen bushes (or trees)against my house facing north with no sun and growing no taller than 4 feet high. Any suggestions? I live in Coram, Long Island, New York
view the full question and answer

Flowering evergreen shrubs for sun in Austin
August 09, 2010 - I am looking for a flowering evergreen shrubs that can take all afternoon sun(on the west side of our house. Preferably 2ft high and 2 ft wide. I had planted a few Salvia Greggii(Autumn Sage) which on...
view the full question and answer

Controlling scale insects on hollies
July 10, 2005 - I have a number of holly shrubs at the side of my house. Recently I noticed that they have tiny white spots on them. I looked at several native Texas gardening books, but can't find what I need to t...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing of leaves in Texas Mountain Laurel from Austin
June 25, 2012 - I planted a Texas Mountain Laurel in my Austin, TX yard this January. The tree was good sized (about 5 feet tall) when I planted it. Recently the leaves of the tree have started to turn yellow alon...
view the full question and answer

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