En Español

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?

Share

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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - April 17, 2009

From: Beach Lake, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Plant identification of tall stalk with many thorns
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Pants: After we raked all the leaves, I found three or four plants on my property that are thin tall stalks with many thorns. Leaves are just growing, so I cannot describe them. They are between two to three feet tall. Are they invasive? I want to move them closer to our deck to keep the deer away. Thanks.

ANSWER:

From your description I think the most likely suspect is Aralia spinosa (devil's walkingstick). Here are more photos from the USDA, Missouri Plants, and from Vanderbilt University. It is listed in the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health database at Invasive.org.

Another possibility is that it is one of the greenbriers such as Smilax tamnoides (bristly greenbrier)Smilax glauca (cat greenbrier) or Smilax rotundifolia (roundleaf greenbrier)

If one of these isn't your plant, please take photos and send them to us and we will do our best to identify it.  For instructions on how to submit photos please visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page.


Aralia spinosa

 

 

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Landscaping large area in Webster KY
February 10, 2012 - We just bought a house that we fell in love with. The land around it . . . well it has GREAT potential but is seriously lacking at the moment. Trying to get the farm up and running leaves very litt...
view the full question and answer

Identity of the mass fields of yellow flowers in North Texas
March 23, 2012 - Are the mass fields of yellow flowers we are seeing in north Texas now likely to be Indian Mustard (brassica juncea) or Charlock (brassica kaber or sinapis arvensis)? We are teaching a wildflower ide...
view the full question and answer

Eradicating sumac in Burnet, TX
February 05, 2009 - I have several varieties of sumac on my property. I need to know how to get rid of it. When I cut it down it seems to come back in force.
view the full question and answer

Support for non-native, invasive Nandina Domestica from San Antonio, TX
July 09, 2013 - I consider nandina domestica to be a perfect plant for San Antonio, but see that it is on the list of invasive plants for surrounding eco-areas. How should I respond regarding one of my favorite land...
view the full question and answer

Non-native invasive carrot wood tree losing leaves in Alpine CA
April 22, 2014 - My carrot wood tree is losing all of its leaves. The tree is about 15foot high & 13 years old. Could it be gophers? The tree was trimmed 1 year ago.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center