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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - March 28, 2010

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


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!


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

Plant identification of tree with strawberry-like fruit
December 11, 2009 - On my walk home from work i noticed a red berry i had never seen before. It is soft like a strawberry, bumpy all over but the bumps are not individual as a raspberry has. It grows on a tall bush (very...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plants emerging from "wildflower mix" of seeds
January 02, 2007 - I planted a "wildflower mix" a couple months ago, and now I have a bunch of plants growing that I'm not sure what they are. Some of them are starting to make buds, and I've been looking on the in...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
July 01, 2013 - I picked a beautiful large red wildflower, & by the time I got home, the stem had turned "spikey" and dark black! Very ugly & a little scary as I had never heard of such a flower! Can you identify??
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant called 'Bell-flowered Yucca' associated with Lynn Lowrey
January 20, 2011 - Please help identify a plant, the seeds of which are labeled "Bell Flowered Yucca" and " H. lowyrii" (or, presumably, some variant of Lynn Lowrey's name). I believe that this seed was collected ...
view the full question and answer

Mimosa pudica or \
July 02, 2007 - I don't have a picture of a flower but I'm looking for a flower that I was told was called earthquake flower. It blooms at night. Could you help me?
view the full question and answer

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