En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Identification of large egg-like objects on vines in Texas

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
2 ratings

Saturday - April 17, 2010

From: Hext, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Identification of large egg-like objects on vines in Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

This past weekend we were at our deer lease in Hext,TX. My children and I went exploring along the banks of the San Saba river and found what we originally thought were some type of turtle or turkey egg. But then we found of of these large egg looking things attached to a vine and I assume they are instead some type of plant, but we aren't sure what. The "eggs" are very large and can not be confused with hen eggs (or the Easter egg plant). The outside shell white/mottled with brown and is extremely durable. We had to literally get a rock and bust it against the egg to see what was inside. On the inside we saw what looked like a yellow, dried spongey material and in the center of that, it looked like some sort of shriveled seeds. We are very curious as to what it is that we have found. Could you please help us figure it out??

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants thinks that perhaps this is the fruit/gourd of Cucurbita foetidissima (buffalo gourd).  They are certainly large enough (about 3-4 inches in diameter) and would be dry and hard at the time of year that you found them.

Alternatively, they could be a plant gall.  They can be caused by insects, mites, nematodes, fungi and bacteria.  You can see photographs of various galls caused by insects on the Bug Guide.  You don't say what kind of vine you found the growth on or if it's on the ground or growing up a tree, but crown gall is caused by a bacterium, Agrobacterium tumefaciens, and often infects grape vines.

If we haven't identified your mystery 'eggs' and you happen to have photos of them, please send them to us and we will do our very best to identify them.  Visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page to read instructions for submitting photos.

Here are a few photos from our Image Gallery of the fruits of buffalo gourd:


Cucurbita foetidissima

Cucurbita foetidissima

Cucurbita foetidissima

Cucurbita foetidissima

 

 

More Vines Questions

Containerized honeysuckle for Dassel MN
April 05, 2013 - We are renting our house but I would like to enjoy my own honeysuckle. Can they be planted in a big pot so that I can take it with me when we move.
view the full question and answer

Evergreen flowering vine for wall in Tampa FL
May 06, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Tampa Florida and am looking for a non toxic, evergreen, profusely flowering vine to cover a wall. It needs to be cold hardy to approx. 20F. Thanks for your help
view the full question and answer

Removing spent flowers from passion flower in Garland TX
May 26, 2009 - To encourage more blooms, should I remove spent flowers on my passion flower vine?
view the full question and answer

Grape Vines and spacing for Portland, OR
September 10, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a somewhat small south-facing yard next to my home (less than 8' wide). I would like to build a tall arbor for grapes that runs along the length of my home (about 4...
view the full question and answer

Purple Passionflower as a native in Charlottesville VA
September 18, 2013 - Is it possible to grow purple passion flower as a perennial in zone 7? I am looking for hummers and butterflies to be attracted by the plant. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center