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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - March 28, 2010

From: Cumberland, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Found thorny bush in woods near my home that I need to identify. It is a tall shrub (approx. 10 feet) that has very large thorns on its green branches. I don't see any flowers yet. It doesn't appear to lose its leaves (groups of 3 leaves together) over the winter. I never noticed this bush before this Spring, although it has been there due to it's size. The thorns on this plant are approx. 1-2 inches long and cover the entire plant. Any ideas what this might be? I've never seen anything like it. Please help to identify!

ANSWER:

This sounds a lot like Poncirus trifoliata, trifoliate orange, a native of China and Korea.  It is considered an invasive plant in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast US.  Here are more photos and information from Henderson State University in Arkansas.

If this isn't the plant you described, please take photos and send them to us—we will do our very best to identify it. To read the instructions for submitting photos, please visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of native Texas plants from a list
February 09, 2008 - Please identify Texas Native Plants from the list below: Cotoneaster, Bi-color Iris, Greencloud Sage, Dwarf Wax myrtle, Nolina, Spineless prickly pear, Gulf Muhly, Bamboo Muhly, Big Muhly, Maiden Gra...
view the full question and answer

Care of non-native plant
March 17, 2016 - I have a plant that grows about 1' tall, looks sort of like a dracaena. The leaves grow off of a short stem and are yellowish (no green at all) with brilliant slashes of hot pink an red. It is georg...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification from Clarksville TN
May 04, 2013 - We live on a north facing wooded ridge line in Middle TN. I have a single large (6') bush that is blooming now (late April) with beautiful 6" long, end of stem clusters of small pink flowers in 3-5...
view the full question and answer

Question about the Chitalpa tree
June 28, 2012 - A bush w/6" long pencil thin seed pod, leaves 4"x1/2", flower that looks like the flower on the Chitalpa tree. Is there a Chitalpa bush. The one I have I grew from seed from the pod; flat, round ...
view the full question and answer

Vine with wine-colored flowers in Washington County, TX
April 04, 2014 - I'm trying to identify a deep purple wine colored flowering vine in Washington County, Texas. It looks very similar to Texas wisteria, but it is something else. I've seen them growing in vineyards...
view the full question and answer

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