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?

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
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
1 rating

Monday - May 09, 2011

From: Pensacola, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Mystery small tree with many large thorns
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

In a small spot on over 2 acres, we have this strange tree/shrub. It is a single, straight stem with no branches, and has profuse, large thorns from top to bottom. At the top of the stem, the leaves grow out in the shape of an umbrella. In the winter, it looks like a brown, dead stick. In the spring/summer, new growth is green with the leaves at the top. Some are 15 feet tall or taller.

ANSWER:

This sounds a lot like Aralia spinosa (Devil's walkingstick).  It certainly qualifies in its very thorny straight stem with the new spring leaves occurring at the top of the stem looking umbrella-like.  Here are some more photos from Duke University and information from Floridata.


Aralia spinosa


Aralia spinosa


Aralia spinosa

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Vine with red berries in North Carolina
November 04, 2011 - I found a plant/ vine pink teardrop with red berries in the Pusgah Forest in North Carolina and no on knows the name of it. I have a photo, can you help?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of tree on Kent State University in Ohio
August 09, 2011 - Hello. I am fond of a very large (wide) tree on a university campus in Ohio. I have tried many plant ID search engines to try to figure out what it is. It is at least 12 feet tall and at least that ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
April 20, 2010 - I am trying to identify a flowering plant (usually potted) that is commonly seen around homes in Phoenix, AZ. It has a long (1 to 1.5 ft) bare woody stem topped by an umbel of perhaps 15-20 small red...
view the full question and answer

Weed identification
February 27, 2012 - Weeds / Wildflower. I dream of a photo identification for weeds / wildflowers that pop up in my garden here in Austin, Texas. Maybe I don't want to pull them up. How do I know? Do you know of a b...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification, possibly Datura wrightii
August 25, 2010 - I have a plant in my back yard, it had big white trumpet flowers, and now it has huge green pods. Doesn't smell very nice. Could you tell me what it is?
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center