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?


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
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

Identity of grass-like plant with white or cream flowers in The Woodlands, TX?
May 16, 2015 - What is the name of the tall grass-like plant with small white or cream flowers that is planted in most esplanades in The Woodlands, TX.?
view the full question and answer

Pink flower in South Carolina, perhaps poisonous
July 09, 2008 - I saw a beautiful plant while touring Charleston, SC. I do not remember the name - the tour guide talked about a long time ago women giving it to their husband's in tea (maybe?) to kill them. Of co...
view the full question and answer

Sombrerito Mexicano
May 16, 2010 - Ratibida columnifera, almost universally called Mexican hat in English, is native to Texas and also to parts of Mexico, which leads me to wonder what the vernacular name is in Mexican Spanish. Google...
view the full question and answer

Identification of artichoke-like plant in Idaho
May 13, 2013 - There is a plant/weed growing in the front yard, my mom says it is a flower I say a weed. It looks a lot like an open artichoke and is the same size. It is green except on the tips where it is deep pu...
view the full question and answer

Identity of a plant in SE Georgia
May 06, 2009 - Identity of a plant- This plant is growing wild in SE GA, but I have never seen it before until this year. The plant has a stolon "root" system it forms an upright stem and a cluster of flowers begi...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center