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?

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
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

Evergreen vine for San Diego, California
July 11, 2010 - I am looking for an evergreen (San Diego) vine to grow on a newly constructed trellis. Its 12' tall by 8' wide and is on the North side of the house. That area seems to only get sun June and July ...
view the full question and answer

Native vine to cover chain link fence in Massachusetts
March 21, 2008 - I have a chain link fence I don't want to bother taking down, any suggestions on a clinging vine that will rapidly attach itself to the links and eventually cover it with a green "blanket"? thanks
view the full question and answer

Possibility of growing Smilax pumila (Wild Sarsaparilla Vine in Virginia
June 13, 2006 - Hello, I am inquiring about a plant my grandmother keeps telling me about. It's called sarasee (sp?). It's supposed to have some medicinal properties like helping with a cold and things of that nat...
view the full question and answer

Restoring the woods in Central Austin.
May 08, 2012 - I live in Austin, south central between Red Bud trail close to the low water bridge and Bee Caves road. My question: I want to make the wooded sections of my yard attractive. They have filtered sun...
view the full question and answer

Plants for wall with afternoon sun in Oregon
July 03, 2008 - Portland, Or. We have a stacked cement wall about 30 feet long that receives afternoon sun from the west. we would like to plant something edible along that wall that can tolerate afternoon sun. G...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center