Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Splitting bark on non-native mimosa from Buda TX
June 24, 2012 - What would cause my Mimosa tree to have splitting bark. I've only lived in this house for 8 months and am learning about this tree. The other tree seems fine. It looks as though it split and then ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of mystery tree in Huntington Beach, CA
March 25, 2015 - Have a "tree" that has grown from about 18" tall to about 10' tall in a little over a years time. It has a central trunk that is about 3/4" in diameter at it's largest. It has short thin branch...
view the full question and answer

Fast-spreading desert-type tree with thorns in yard
July 21, 2014 - There is a fast spreading tree in my backyard - many multiple almost symmetric flat green oval leaves on either side of the stem (sort of like a moringa tree but this is not that). Grows straight up, ...
view the full question and answer

Can rose Zephirine Drouhin damage brick from Springfield IL
August 22, 2010 - Can Z…PHIRINE DROUHIN damage brick?
view the full question and answer

How to get rid of nut grass from San Antonio
March 22, 2011 - We just had a house built on a lot that was mostly rock. The small back yard has a berm on which they brought in soil then mulched it. Now we are getting all sorts of weeds through the mulch, what my...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.