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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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Sunday - September 19, 2010

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Identification of vine in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Recently a volunteer vine appeared along a fence line in my yard. It has grown rapidly, has small, vaguely heart-shaped leaves, tendrils to climb with and tiny yellow flowers. As the flower fades a fruit appears which looks like a tiny watermelon. Can you tell me what this vine is? Is it toxic or dangerous? (We have dogs, cats and lots of wildlife.) Is it a nuisance that I should eliminate before it takes over everywhere? I've left it for now, out of curiosity, and thinking it might be edible to some of our raccoons, or the deer. Thank you very much for any ideas you can provide.

ANSWER:

This sounds a lot like Melothria pendula (Guadeloupe cucumber).  These are appearing everywhere right now in Central Texas.  If this isn't the vine you have seen, please send us photos and we will do our best to identify it.  Visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page to read instructions for submitting photos.


Melothria pendula


Melothria pendula


Melothria pendula


Melothria pendula

 

 

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