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

Wednesday - June 03, 2009

From: Tyler, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Worms in wild plums
Answered by: Nina Hawkins

QUESTION:

Wild Plums... They are just starting to get ripe here in East Texas. Picked a few today and they all had dark spots on them. When I cut them open there were tiny worms inside. Does this mean they are all going to be bad? I've scoured the web and can't find any info on this.

ANSWER:

Based on your description of the dark spots on the plums with tiny worms inside, my best guess is that you are dealing with the plum curculio, a weevil that infests plums, apples, blueberries and other fruit.  The dark spots are from the crescent shaped wounds created when the females lay their eggs in the flesh of the fruit, where the worms hatch and tunnel.  If you see these spots on a plum, it likely has worms inside.  The worms later drop to the soil underneath the trees where they pupate into adults.  To keep the next generation of weevils at bay you must remove and destroy all the infested fruit from the tree and the ground around it so that the worms inside won't get a chance to transform into adults.  (This would be a good time to have a neighbor who keeps chickens!)   Other things you can try are mulching the soil about a foot from the trunk out to the drip line, pruning for an open canopy so that birds will have access to the weevils and releasing beneficial nematodes.   Above all else, keeping the soil underneath the tree clean of fallen fruit is the most important thing you can do to lessen the weevil population and get healthy plums next year.

 

 

More Edible Plants Questions

Need information about Pignut (Hoffmannseggia glauca).
November 30, 2009 - I wanted to know a little about Pignut (also called Indian Rush-pea and Hog Potato); botanical name Hoffmannseggia glauca. Is it edible, and at what point does the plant produce a tuber (looks like a ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of tart fruit that looks like a pumpkin
December 10, 2016 - As a child, in Miami, Florida, in the 1950's, another child challenged me to eat a "fruit" that looked like a pumpkin. It was just a little bigger than those candy pumpkins we see now at Halloween, a...
view the full question and answer

Non Toxic Fruit Plants
April 03, 2015 - I am trying to plant on my backyard. My dog spends about 8 hours a day outdoors and I am afraid she will be poisoned. I am overwhelmed by the information of toxic trees\plants for dogs. However, I ju...
view the full question and answer

Is cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens) edible?
December 21, 2012 - I found a post here about cenizo leaves being used for tea, but I'm wondering if the leaves of the cenizo are edible? I have found many recipes for 'brown butter sage' leaves (sauteed often with on...
view the full question and answer

Citrus trees for Austin
May 21, 2008 - I am looking for citrus that grows in the Austin,Tx area. Could you offer any suggestions please?
view the full question and answer

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