En EspaŅol

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?


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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
5 ratings

Saturday - September 12, 2009

From: Natchitoches, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification for Louisiana
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Trying to identify a "fruit bearing" plant around Natchitoches, Louisiana. Grows about waist high to average man, slightly elongated green leaf, bearing small green "fruit" or "berry", with paper thin, veiny skin. Grows wild, bushy, deer seem to be attracted to it.


Mr. Smarty Plants thinks this sounds like a species of Physalis.  Here are some that are of sufficient height and are native to Louisiana:

Physalis angulata (cutleaf groundcherry) grows to about 3 feet and here are more photos and information.

Physalis heterophylla (clammy groundcherry) grows to 1.5 to 2.5 feet and here are more photos and information.

Physalis pubescens (husk tomato) grows to 2.5 feet and here are more photos and information.

Physalis virginiana (Virginia groundcherry) grows to 3 feet and here are more photos and information.

If none of these is the plant you have seen, please send us photos and we will do our best to identify your plant.  Please visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page for instructions on submitting photos.

Physalis angulata

Physalis heterophylla

Physalis pubescens

Physalis virginiana



More Plant Identification Questions

Assistance in photographing Turnera diffusa in Rio Grande Valley
March 20, 2006 - Do you know where I can photograph a specimen of Turnera diffusa Willd. ex J.A. Schultes var. aphrodisiaca? I'll be in Texas in May and it is on my list to try and locate. I understand it grows in ...
view the full question and answer

Identity of groundcover in Parker County, TX
June 02, 2013 - I'm trying to identify a native "groundcover" that looks much like frogfruit, as far as the leaves and growth pattern, but has small yellow flowers that look like little lanterns as buds. I know it...
view the full question and answer

Identity of evergreen tree at Barton Springs in Austin TX
October 11, 2015 - I am trying to identify an evergreen tree at Barton Springs in Austin. It is growing on the south lawn overlooking the pool. It has needles arranged in a fan like shape and makes a kind of crown-shape...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID from Chicago
August 18, 2010 - When I was hiking in Portland, OR, my friend had me eat a leaf off of a trail-side plant. It tasted very much like sour apple, it was delicious. It has average-sized green leaves and in July it had no...
view the full question and answer

Locating Rhododendron calendulaceum
April 26, 2008 - Trying to locate Rhododendron calendulaceum
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center