Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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?

Share

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

Friday - December 17, 2010

From: Tyler, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Identification of a wild vine in East Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Trying to identify a wild vine that grow 15-20 feet up our trees. The leaves are dark, glossy green about 2-3" long. The edges are smooth and elongated. Each leaf is placed to the right and then the left of the stem, about 3/4" apart. The root systems are tubers that look a little like sweet potatoes, except there are about 15-20 attached together, making the whole root clump 1-2 feet in diameter.

ANSWER:

The closest match to your description that I could find is Smilax laurifolia (Laurel greenbrier).  It has alternate leaves that look like your description of the leaves and the root structure described by the U. S Forest Service does sound like your description.  You don't, however, mention the large prominent thorns on the vine. Here are more photos and information from Duke University and LSU.

If this doesn't appear to be your vine but your vine is native, you should be able to find it in our Native Plant Database by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH and selecting 'Texas' from Select State or Province and 'Vine' from Habit (general appearance).  Most, but not all, the species have photos.  It is possible that your vine is not a native.  In that case, your best bet is to take photographs and visit our Plant Identification page to find sources for submitting your photos for identification.

 

 

More Vines Questions

Identity of milkweed vine with smooth seedpod
November 23, 2012 - I believe the vine I am curious about may be Matelea reticulata. However, most of the pictures I have seen of that vine show bumps on the exterior of the seed pod, and the pod I have is green and smo...
view the full question and answer

Grapevine for pot in Ft. Worth
March 19, 2010 - Can I plant a grapevine in a large clay pot in Fort Worth, Texas?
view the full question and answer

Privacy Screening Plant for New York Narrow Site
April 20, 2013 - I need privacy screening on the side of my house in Mount Kisco, New York located 40 miles north of New York City. The area gets plenty of sun but is somewhat narrow. What evergreen bushes or trees ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of vine with purple fruit
September 21, 2008 - Illinois: I have a vine, red stems purple fruit with grape like clusters (sweet.hope it wasn't poisonous)What is it?
view the full question and answer

Vine for planters in Houston, Texas
October 31, 2008 - i'm looking for a native climber/vine that would be suitable for a south facing facade that doesn't have a deep root system..to create a sort of green screen using planters sitting on the second lev...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.