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
1 rating

Monday - August 17, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Unusual green fruit
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

Unknown "fruit" in my backyard I have large (softball size) nobbly green orbs finding their way into my backyard. They sort of look like a tennis ball left out in the rain to rot, but they are organic. Someone mentioned they could be crab apples, but I have not been able to match them with any web images. Are they crab apples or some other "fruit"?

ANSWER:

Although it is impossible to do a positive ID without seeing the fruit or a picture of it, the first thing that comes to mind is Osage orange, also known as Horse apple.  If the fruit looks like a tennis ball and your kids think it looks like a "brain fruit" it could be Maclura pomifera.  It was a plant that was widely used in the Northeast US and Canada as a hedgerow plant by farmers to keep livestock contained (because of its thorny branches) and does occur in Texas.

Check out the link to our database and see if you see a resemblance.

 Maclura pomifera (osage orange)


Maclura pomifera

 

 

More Trees Questions

Tree options for patio in Sun City West, Arizona.
January 07, 2011 - We have an area near our cement patio in Sun City West AZ where we would like to plant a shade tree. We planted a sissoo tree, but were told that the roots will damage the patio because of the proximi...
view the full question and answer

Quercus polymorpha or Mexican white oak
June 19, 2007 - On the Texas Oak Wilt Information Partnership website, they list a "Monterrey Oak" as one of the White Oaks (#3 in the FAQ section). I cannot find Monterrey Oak in your Explore Plants section; does...
view the full question and answer

Willows native to Wisconsin
July 01, 2005 - I have a small garden center in the far northern reaches of Wisconsin....and I specialize in native varieties for up here. I also help folks with lake shore restoration and preservation. There was...
view the full question and answer

Impenetrable privacy hedge in Wimberly, TX.
July 26, 2011 - I live near Wimberly, TX. I'd like to grow an impenetrable privacy hedge about 200' long and at least 10' tall and 10' deep (or more) using native plants. I'd like it to be evergreen, drought t...
view the full question and answer

Need a shade tree to plant in Houston, TX
November 18, 2013 - Hi, i'm looking for a shade tree to plant on the southwest side of our house, both to make our backyard more enjoyable and to improve energy efficiency. We really like Live Oaks, but they just take t...
view the full question and answer

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