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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - July 24, 2010

From: Berkley, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I was wondering if you could help me identify a plant in the carrot family that has invaded a portion of my property that I fear may be toxic. It looks most like the water hemlock plant (leaf-wise, not quite as "ferny" as most of the other plants I've seen in that family, including hemlock plant). Its about 4-5 feet high. Two things that appear to be different though is that there are single bluish black huckleberry-like berries on the ends of each of the starbursts (after flowering) and also the roots have long runners that spawn other plants. Most of the pictures on the web I've seen show brown seeds, not berries. Matter of fact I cant find one picture of a berry anywhere that is a member of the carrot family. I also don't see any hollow chambers in the root, and the 1st several inches of stem above the ground are brown and "hairy" . Almost thorny. It seems to have characteristics of both the hemlock and water hemlock but not all of each. It does have some pinkish purple striations on the stems of most of the plants (but not all). I did pull up quite a bit but noticed a lot more in another part of the property so want to make sure it's not one of the toxic members of that family. I'm hoping the berries and the running roots may help identify which one it is. Thanks.

ANSWER:

The thing that will help the most in the identification of the plant is to send us photos showing all the various traits you have mentioned—the entire plant, closeup photos of leaves, of berries, and of the stem. Please send photos that are in good focus and of high resolution.  Please read the instructions for submitting the photos on Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page.
 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identity of plant with purple flower and tomato-like fruit
April 24, 2012 - Along the Lake Erie shoreline in Buffalo there is a summer blooming plant with a purple flower and hard flattened tomato like fruit, diameter of a quarter. It has pretty small green leaves with fine ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
November 25, 2008 - I live north of Chicago. I have been Gardening just about everything forever. I finally got a surprise gift from a migrating bird, squirrel or possibly my kitchen composting. Apparently from a seed gr...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
July 22, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, (love the name), I have found a plant in my yard. Underground it looks like a green onion, above ground it has a broad leaf, a thin 8-12 inch stalk and the top 2" of the stalk...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
June 29, 2011 - I live in east Austin Texas, close to Manor. I was pulling a particular "weed" out of the cracks of my driveway on 06-12-11. This weed has always reminded me of moss rose, but the flowers are not as...
view the full question and answer

Houseplant identification
October 15, 2014 - Had a houseplant with leaves that were green on the top and purplish on the bottom. The leaves were velvety to the touch. Would like to know what it was.
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