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

Tuesday - March 15, 2011

From: Santa Rosa, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I don't know where this plant is from! I hope you can still help! I was given a plant,about 8in tall,stem and limbs are yellow it doesn't grow leaves it just has thorns do you have any idea what it might be? Thanks for your help.


This sounds like a plant in the Family Euphorbiaceae (Spurge Family) and, in particular, in the genus Euphorbia.  Many of the Euphorbias are succulents with spines but no leaves. However, your plant doesn't sound like any of the Euphorbias (or any other plant, for that matter) native to North America.  What we are all about here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is "to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes."  We can suggest some possibilities for finding the identity of your non-native plant, however.  DesertTropicals.com has a database showing many species of non-native Euphorbia. You can look through their photos and perhaps find your plant.  You can see more Euphorbia photos on the International Euphorbia Society webpage.

If you don't find your plant in either of these databases, visit our Plant Identification page to find several plant forums where you can upload photos and ask for help in identifying your plant.

By the way, if your plant doesn't have at least a greenish tinge or isn't parasitic on some other green plant, I'm afraid it isn't long for this world.  It needs to have chlorophyll or at least be connected to a plant with chlorophyll to produce energy to live.


More Plant Identification Questions

Plant ID from Brick, New Jersey
September 07, 2013 - I live in Brick, New Jersey. I planted some wildflower seed from an assorted packet. There is a very tall, thick center stem with orange flowers. I'd like to send photo but don't know how.
view the full question and answer

Plant identfication
October 21, 2009 - Hi...Can you please identfy the tall, evergreen shrub with purple plum-colored foliage that I have noticed in winter locally?...Hope so, need he color! THX
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 17, 2011 - There is a sweet pea like vine that grows along the road in NC. IT is pink and looks much like a sweet pea. What is it?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification from Virginia
May 03, 2012 - We found lots of asparagus like stalks growing randomly in our field here in central Virginia. But, instead of an asparagus head it has a tight cluster of leaves that are small and roundish. Any idea...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
July 07, 2008 - I live in NE PA and have two plants that are growing under our pine tree. One has 2 leaves and and looks a lot like lily of the valley and the other has 6-10 leaves with white berries on the end. I wa...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center