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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - November 30, 2010

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


I have had a plant for 37 years! It is a vine with leaves that grow in groups of three and they typically have 5 points. The leaves are dark green and shiny. I would love to know what this old friend is. Thank you for your help.


The first vine that comes to mind from your description of dark green shiny leaves with five points is Hedera helix (English ivy), a non-native, aggressively invasive plant.  However, plants are difficult, if not impossible, to identify by description alone.  Your vine may be a native one.  If it is a native vine, you can search for it in our Native Plant Database by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH and choosing Massachusetts from the Select State or Province option and then selecting 'Vine' from Habit (general appearance).  This will give you more than 50 vines that are native to Massachusetts.  Most of them have photographs for you to examine.  If you don't find it there, your best bet is to take photos of your vine and submit them to one of the plant identification forums we have listed on our Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page.


More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification possibly red buckeye
July 06, 2008 - I encountered a shrub-like plant in the Edwards Plateu noth of Bracketville, and could use your help with identification. It's most distinguishing charactaristics are the seed pod, which has three c...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a mint-like plant in California
July 21, 2013 - I found a plant growing near my apricot (in Fresno, California). It has a square stem which becomes more rounded toward the base. The leaves are smooth, opposite, and they have three to five leaflets ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of flower that looks like Callirhoe in NC
June 12, 2012 - Have a flower similar to callirhoe, but the blossum is fuchia, not purple and the foliage is light sage in color and fuzzy. It is very invasive. What is it? If you have an email address, I can send...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
April 26, 2009 - My brother in law just bought a parcel of land that is bespeckled with shrubs we cannot identify. The land is located in south west Michigan. It is zoned agricultural. Due to the fact that it is ea...
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

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