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

Friday - August 14, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am trying to identify a plant I saw this past weekend in San Diego, California. It was a low growing shrub planted along the road near a beach. The flowers looked like large star jasmine, leaves were bigger and tougher looking. It was thorny and had a red fruit that looked like large plums. Sorry I do not have a photo. Thank you for any information.

ANSWER:

Well, Mr. Smarty Plants thinks your description sounds a lot like the plant we were recently asked to identify in a photo that we were sent.  The plant in the photo was  Carissa macrocarpa (Natal Plum). The gentleman who sent us the photo said the plant was growing in Baja California, but said the plant in the photo came originally from Santa Barbara, California.  It was introduced to Santa Barbara, however, since it is a South African native.  If this doesn't look like the plant you saw, let us know and we'll give it another try; however, without a photo it will be more difficult.

 

 

 

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
June 27, 2008 - A friend brought back pictures of plants from a recent trip which included the center. It didn't have an identification sign on it and no one was around at that moment for him to ask. I can send th...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification for Beeville, TX
May 15, 2011 - Hi, Mr. Smarty Plants, I just saw this question on your web site: "Today in Beeville, TX I came across a plant that looks like a grass, but has a small black and white dotted flower. The flower lo...
view the full question and answer

Identification of perennial with dark red/purple flowers
November 17, 2011 - Need to identify a lovely perennial here in Norfolk, Virginia. It reseeds itself, spreads, and lingers into the late fall. It has rather thick, dark green, alternate spatulate leaves at the base wit...
view the full question and answer

ID for Caribbean mystery plants.
January 13, 2016 - I AM TRYING TO FIND THE COMMON NAME FOR TWO FLOWERS I TOOK PICTURES OF ON A CARIBBEAN CRUISE. I TOOK ONE IN HONDURAS AND ONE IN GRAND CAYMAN. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHERE I CAN GO TO TO GET HELP IN ID...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 12, 2008 - We are trying to identify a plant that looks a lot like elephant ear, but has round leaves not heart shaped. It is growing in a wet area that gets good morning sun. It is not a native. It returns e...
view the full question and answer

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