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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - June 19, 2009

From: Salem, OH
Region: Midwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Plant identification of large hairy vine in Salem, OH
Answered by: Barbara Medford


We have large hairy vines that grow up the side of several of the trees on the edge of the woods beside our home. The leaves color resembles that of the poisonous sumac but the leaves shape do not. They are leaves that grow in group of three (two smaller on the side, one large at the top). They are a basic spade shape. Really don't resemble poison ivy or oak. Any ideas as to what this could be? Thank you.


Even from a very good description, it is difficult to identify a plant that we may never have seen. You can begin to make your own identification by going to our Native Plant Database, and under Combination Search, choose Ohio and vine from the drop-down menus for State and Habit. Then, click on the "Submit combination search" box. You will get a list of 62 possibilities of vines native to Ohio. Most of them will have thumbnail pictures. Click on the plant link of any you think are possibilities and read the description on the webpage for that individual plant. At the bottom of each of those pages is a link to Google on that particular plant, for more information.

If you still can't identify your mystery plant, go to the Mr. Smarty Plants page for Plant Identification, and follow the instructions for submitting a photo and more information, and we will try to figure out what you have.


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