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?

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

Tuesday - March 15, 2011

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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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

Shrub with thorns, black fruit and citrus fragrance in Michigan
September 19, 2014 - I'm not sure that my plant is a native, but I'm hoping to find some answer. There is a small patch of roadside shrubs on my property which I've been unable to identify. They have simple opposite ...
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

Dyes from native North American plants
November 29, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have been working as a textile designer for many years and am now interested in harvesting native North American plants in order to create natural dyes. Which plant ...
view the full question and answer

Mystery plant in New Jersey
December 29, 2009 - We are trying to find the name of a shrub, growing in Southern New Jersey. with red berries that grow in a group much like lilac or oak leaf hydrangea. It is "feathery", not dense. A neighbor dug u...
view the full question and answer

Mystery tree in Ontario
July 06, 2011 - I found a tree (similar to an apple tree in blossom) in a shaded area by a stream on our property. I have never seen anything like it. It is again, like an apple branch with the blossoms, however, t...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center