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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - June 06, 2011

From: Savannah, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of plant from Tennessee
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I was trying to find the identity of a plant my Grandmother grew around her house in West Tennessee. It was a nonflowering plant, about 12-24 in tall, had thornless leaves similar in shape to holly leaves, the leaves had an red-orange center with green around the edges of the leaves, and the seeds were dark yellow and were shaped like BB's or those round spices in bread and butter pickles.

ANSWER:

First of all, if the plant has berries, it is a flowering plant.  Its flowers may have been inconspicuous, but they were there to produce the berries. 

One native plant, Euphorbia cyathophora (Fire on the mountain or wild poinsettia), comes to mind that has green leaves with red centers.  Its leaves are shaped somewhat like holly leaves but without the sharp tips.  It does have yellowish-green berries.  This plant is an herbaceous annual that is often used in landscaping.

Another plant that comes to mind is a non-native from Asia in the Genus Solenostemon [e.g., Solenostemon scutellarioides (coleus)].  They come in a large variety of colors and leaf shapes.  It would have to be an annual in Tennessee, however, since it is winter hardy in tropical zones 10 and 11 and Tennessee is in Zones 6 and 7.

If neither of these happens to be your plant, please visit our Plant Identification page to find links to garden forums that may be able to help identify the plant.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery of the native wild poinsettia:


Euphorbia cyathophora


Euphorbia cyathophora


Euphorbia cyathophora


Euphorbia cyathophora

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identity of cinnamon-scented bush from Pennsylvania
May 23, 2015 - I had a "bush" in PA that the woman who sold it to me called a cinnamon bush. It had long branches with large (approx 5" long and 3" wide) dark green leaves attached evenly along each side of the...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
July 24, 2010 - Purchased foliage plant - no one knows its name. Leaves (stems) are bright green and 10" tall. Has "babies" like a spider plant but leaves (stems) are wider and thicker. Has a "rib" to them in...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
July 19, 2013 - My nephew bought an old farmhouse in Southeast Texas. There is a plant there that has glossy leaves similar to a lemon leaf. I cannot tell from the pic if it is a shrub or a vine. It is blooming now, ...
view the full question and answer

Identity of tree in Grant AL
November 26, 2009 - What is the name of the tree in N.E. Alabama that has a big green heart shaped leaf in Nov. with clusters or nuts & blonde small nuts the size of a pea . And deer are eating the small blonde nut in No...
view the full question and answer

Mystery berries on vine in Montgomery County, TX
August 09, 2013 - While out in the woods today on Caney Creek near Grangerland, Texas, I found what I thought to be some grapes on a vine hanging down from a tree. I brought the vine down, but when I got it home to pr...
view the full question and answer

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