Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
2 ratings

Tuesday - May 24, 2011

From: Thorndale, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Identification of thorny shrub with blue berries
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Thorny shrub with blue berries. In our acid sandy loam we have many thorn bushes. This one has small leaves like a wild pomegranate, long thorns. berries of the size and color of blueberries and is very invasive and hard to get rid of. What is this rascal?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants' best guess is that you have Sideroxylon lanuginosum (Gum bumelia) shrubs.  The gum bumelia has long sharp thorns and produces blue berries.  Its leaves do somewhat resemble those of Punica granatum (pomegranate). It can grow to be more than 40 feet high but doesn't reach that height very quickly.  It can form loose thickets of shrubs that are hard to remove because of the long thorns.  Here are photos that show the long thorns and more photos showing the blue berry.

Here are a few photos from our Image Gallery:


Sideroxylon lanuginosum


Sideroxylon lanuginosum


Sideroxylon lanuginosum


Sideroxylon lanuginosum

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Need help with Wheeler's Dwarf Pittosporum
September 02, 2015 - We have about five Dwarf Wheeler Pittosporum plants. All of them are mature and were doing well. I was on vacation for a week or so and when I came back I saw of each of them is plant 90% dead. The d...
view the full question and answer

Lantana failing to bloom from Tampa FL
October 04, 2012 - I reside in central Florida. I have planted several lantana the orange,red,yellow type. I don't have proper species name. They have been in the ground 3 weeks with 2" of potting soil around root ba...
view the full question and answer

White flowering mountain laurel from Driftwood TX
August 23, 2012 - I love white flowering mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora) and want to grow one from seeds. I've had a lot of success germinating and growing purple mountain laurel from seeds (or beans), so I DO ...
view the full question and answer

Trimming Texas mountain laurel in Austin
August 27, 2009 - Is there a specific time to trim established mountain laurels? Should I cut off the dried seed pods since they are weighing down the branches?
view the full question and answer

Shrubs to block dust from dirt road
May 01, 2011 - I live on a dirt road in Northwest Missouri. Could you recommend a fast growing, low maintenance shrub/bush that will form a barrier to block the dust from the dirt road? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.