Explore Plants

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
    
 

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.

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification for Westcave Preserve
June 16, 2011 - Green greetings! In the canyon at Westcave Preserve last month, I saw a plant I don't know: low, broadish leaves (with rounded edges as I recall); very tall, delicate stems with tiny white flowers sp...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
September 05, 2011 - This incredible plant has grown up in the past two months. Considering the extreme heat of this summer, my husband assumes it must be a weed. We have had this skinny strip of dirt for four years, and ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of small dome-shaped furry plant, smells like bubblegum
November 21, 2013 - Hi, I always see this plant when I'm on the river trail in Redding CA. and I can't find it anywhere on the internet. The plant is very small, I think it is some type of weeds that grow. It's a ligh...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification of plant similar to Oxytropis campestris
June 08, 2012 - This plant was found in Breckenridge Texas. Yellow flowers like Oxytropis campestris, yet it is not supposed to be in Texas. Is this possible? Soil is gravelly, sandy and yellow clay. sorry no pho...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating unwanted vine on arbor in San Francisco
November 20, 2012 - There is a vine growing on our arbor, it has sickle-shaped pods and is crushing the arbor, how do we get rid of it?
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.