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
3 ratings

Saturday - May 16, 2009

From: Jacksonville, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Vines
Title: Thorny vine growing through hedge
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus


In my hedge, a vine grows that has a bulbous root. It has large thorns up and down the vine. The leaves are shiny and grow all along the vine that is exposed to the sun. the vine grows up thru hedges and puts on leaves only after it is above the hedge. What can I use to kill it. I have scraped the outer layer off the stem/trunk and brushed on stump killer with little effect..I need help


This sounds like Smilax bona-nox (saw greenbrier).  Your best for getting rid of it is to cut the vine near ground-level and paint the cut stem with concentrated herbicide such as Roundup.  You have to be very careful doing this, however, and not get the herbicide on any part of the hedge.  Also, please carefully read and follow the safety instructions on the herbicide container.

Smilax bona-nox

Smilax bona-nox




More Vines Questions

Jelly from wild grapes with a few peppervine berries from Dunnellon FL
August 20, 2010 - Thank you for your quick response to my question. Due to your answer, I am going to make jelly from this juice.
view the full question and answer

Vines for fence in Gatesville, Texas
July 26, 2010 - Dear Mr Smarty Plants, My wife and I are looking for a nice vine or Ivy for our chain link fence to add a little privacy. We have 4 dogs that bark at anything that moves. We live in Gatesville Tex...
view the full question and answer

Plants to cover rock wall in Pennsylvania
July 10, 2008 - Please recommend plants that I could use to plant on the (full sun) slightly sloped ground space above a 3 foot high, 20 foot long unattractive stone wall that would grow over and down to cover the wa...
view the full question and answer

Vine for limited space, part-shade fence in N. Texas
June 14, 2009 - I have a narrow strip of yard (about 3ft) between my covered patio and privacy fence. Since the fence itself lacks visual interest, I'd like to find a vine to grow on the fence to give the backgroun...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen vine for trellis in Fredricksburg, Texas
March 27, 2011 - Hello, and thank you so much for this service. I am looking for a non-deciduous vine to plant on the east side of my house. I have already put in a trellis, now I need to know what to plant on it. ...
view the full question and answer

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