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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Saturday - July 24, 2010

From: St.George Island, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Vines
Title: Allergic reaction from vine in St. George Island, FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

In the panhandle of Florida, we have a vine that looks like a blackberry vine. Seems to be poisonous. It has thorns that are dark purple and leaves a blistery, itchy rash. The leaves are green and ruffled,the stem is dark purple and red. Please help..I'm itching like crazy and awaken with new single blisters every day.Thanks in advance for your help

ANSWER:

We have 3 recommendations:

(1) Stay away from the vine. If you have work that requires you to be out in the area, in spite of the heat, you would be better off putting on long sleeves, long pants, and leather gloves.

(2) Contact your doctor about the rash.

(3) Contact the University of Florida Extension Office for Franklin County to see if they know what it is, and how it might be best eradicated.

(4) Last resort, and this will take a while, so you would do better to follow the above suggestions than fool with this: See the instructions to send a photo to Mr. Smarty Plants and we will try to figure out what it is. Our specialty is plants native to North America and this may not be a native and therefore not in our Native Plant Database. 

Finally, just in case you think we're not taking you seriously, here are some vines native to Florida, none of which fit all your descriptions, but could be the plant in question. Remember, knowing what the plant is may not be the point here. The point is to avoid coming in contact with it any more, whatever it is.

Vines native to the Panhandle area of Florida:

Ampelopsis arborea (peppervine)

Ampelopsis cordata (heartleaf peppervine)

Cissus trifoliata (sorrelvine)

Galium aparine (stickywilly)

Smilax bona-nox (saw greenbrier)

Toxicodendron radicans (eastern poison ivy)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Ampelopsis arborea

Ampelopsis cordata

Cissus trifoliata

Smilax bona-nox

Toxicodendron radicans

 

 

 

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