En Español

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?


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
6 ratings

Thursday - October 14, 2010

From: Nashville, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of thorny tree with lemon-like fruit
Answered by: Nan Hampton


What would be a small lemon like fruit that grows on a bush with large thorns? The fruit is about the size of a golf ball, kind of fuzzy yellow skin like a lemon and smells like a cross between an orange and a lemon. The flesh is like that of a lemon.


This sounds like Poncirus trifoliata (hardy orange or trifoliate orange), an introduced species from China.  It is listed on the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health Invasive.org website and by TexasInvasives.org.  If this isn't the plant you have seen, please take photos and send them to us and we will do our best to identify it.  Visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page to read the instructions for submitting photos.


More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification of vine in Tennessee
January 06, 2012 - I have this vine that grows in my backyard and on the vine there are green balls about half the size of a hedge apple and inside balls are a bunch of seeds. The deer love to eat these. Do you know wha...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
April 25, 2009 - What is: square stalk perennial with bright yellow flowers at the top (mainly)? Starts growing first thing in spring, invades surrounding areas, puts out long serrated leaves along the 7-8 ft stalks....
view the full question and answer

September 01, 2007 - i have a tree that i cannot identify. the leaf looks like a "pot plant"(yes, cannabis!!), but the leaf does not have serrated edges. it has a long bloom of numerous small white flowers that form a s...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of purple flower in Washington state
July 19, 2013 - I need help. I am a 10 year old girl who just happens to have a brother. He has a deep purple flower with small, oval shaped petals. We would like to know what it is. We planted it in a garden thing a...
view the full question and answer

Distinguish between Huisache and Goldenball Leadtree
March 23, 2008 - How do you distinguish between Huisache (Acacia farnesiana) and Goldenball Leadtree (Leucaena retusa)? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center