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

Monday - July 05, 2010

From: Villa Park, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Identification, Vines
Title: Plant identification--vine with spiny pods in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I came across a vine while hiking in Orange County, CA. It didn't have flowers on it but has 3 or 4 inch spiny pods. What is it? The vine itself looks similar to a Morning Glory vine.

ANSWER:

Here are three native vines that are possibilities:

Marah fabaceus (California manroot) and here are more photos showing the spiny fruit.

Marah oreganus (coastal manroot) and here are photos showing the spiny fruit.

Funastrum cynanchoides ssp. heterophyllum (Hartweg's twinevine) and here are photos.

Here is one invasive European native that is also a possibilitiy:

Cynanchum louiseae (Black dog-strangling vine, black swallowwart) and you see its distribution in California on the USDA Plants Database map.

If none of these is the vine that you saw and you have photos or can take photos of it, please send them to us and we will do our best to identify it.  Visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page for instructions on submitting photos.



 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Yellow-blossomed Shrub that Occurs in Arizona and Texas
May 08, 2012 - What is the name of the large shrubs you will see in Arizona with the bright yellow blossoms. They grow wild everywhere, and I also see them in the town. Could you please tell me the name of them, s...
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree with outrageous thorns
August 10, 2014 - Can you identify this tree? It has these outrageous thorns on its trunk. They are in clusters and are anywhere from 1" long to 4" long or so.
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming of an apparent yucca in Ohio
March 09, 2009 - I have what looks like a yucca plant in my flower bed. but in the 3 years we have lived here it has never bloomed. It did get a little bigger and has always been green. If it is a yucca, is there any ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a tree at David Crockett Cabin Museum in Tennessee
October 22, 2012 - I was in Lawrenceburg TN and stopped by the David Crockett Cabin Museum. There was a tree and it dropped lemon sized balls on the ground. What kind of tree is it?
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant with light orange fruit
November 03, 2011 - Trying to identify a small, light orange, oval shaped fruit,light yellow/beige inside, many seeds, vine w/briars, behind an outbuilding in McNeill, MS. tks
view the full question and answer

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