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

Slow development in Shumard Oak from Porter TX
April 02, 2013 - We had two Shumard Oaks Planted in Sept of last year (2012). About a month later, they started browning and dropping their leaves (no color change). Now I noticed on one of the trees the buds have sta...
view the full question and answer

Small to medium specimen native tree for Texas Hill Country
August 20, 2004 - Can you recommend a small to med. 'specimen' tree to plant near our patio? Full sun, drought tolerant, interesting during different seasons. Thought about Blanco Crabapple, Rusty Blackhaw, Smoke Tr...
view the full question and answer

Tree with blue berries in Los Angeles, CA
March 22, 2016 - There's a tree outside my house with somewhat thin and short spiky leaves with blue berries. The berries Some of the berries have a frost look and some are dark blue.
view the full question and answer

Adjustments to soil level change around tree from Austin
May 29, 2014 - I am moving in to a new construction home in south Austin, builder has leveled the ground and sodded the front yard, I have a post oak in the front and because of the changes to the landscape the tree...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating suckers from roots of Moraine locust in Hilliard, OH
July 07, 2009 - We removed a large Moraine Locust tree and also the stump. Now little trees from the roots are coming up. How do we get rid of these so something else can be planted?
view the full question and answer

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