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
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


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.


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

Flowering vine with yellow flowers in Nevada
August 10, 2014 - A flowering vine started growing in our Henderson back yard about 2 months ago. It has variegated green leaves & yellow flowers. We decided not to pull it out & now it's spreading. I've looked on v...
view the full question and answer

Plants for wall with afternoon sun in Oregon
July 03, 2008 - Portland, Or. We have a stacked cement wall about 30 feet long that receives afternoon sun from the west. we would like to plant something edible along that wall that can tolerate afternoon sun. G...
view the full question and answer

Is there a vine in Indiana with poisonous thorns?
December 27, 2011 - I was cut at the left big toe by a brownish/red thorny vine while tracking thru dry grass near the bridge exiting 278. I'm from Indianapolis, in 46208. Was wondering if I was exposed to a poisonous v...
view the full question and answer

Non-native vines poisonous from Bakersfield CA
May 17, 2013 - Are pink bower vines and stars and stripes mandevilla toxic to dogs?
view the full question and answer

Native vine to cover brick column in Houston
October 28, 2009 - I have a brick column (~20ft tall) in the entry way to my house in Houston, TX. I am looking for a beautiful native vine that'll cover the column and soften the look of the house. I don't want to us...
view the full question and answer

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