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

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

Identification of 3 small flowers in Hays County, Texas
June 25, 2012 - Trying to identify three (3) wildflowers growing on my property in the northwest corner of Hays Co, all very, very small blooms of about 1 cm. (roughly 1/4 inch): (1) small white blooms with five peta...
view the full question and answer

Identification of flower that looks like Callirhoe in NC
June 12, 2012 - Have a flower similar to callirhoe, but the blossum is fuchia, not purple and the foliage is light sage in color and fuzzy. It is very invasive. What is it? If you have an email address, I can send...
view the full question and answer

Plant identfication
August 09, 2009 - We have red pointed things growing wild in our yard. About the size of an index finger. They just pop up after a rain. Are they poisonous? We have pets.
view the full question and answer

Tree with orange flower blooming in August in West Virginia
August 28, 2008 - There is a tree with an orange flower in West Virginia. The orange is at the top of the tree and it blooms in August. I've searched your sight but cannot find it. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Botanical name for a kidney-shaped leaf
June 25, 2009 - Dear Mr Smarty Plants, I love the site.. but I was searching for id on this odd plant I have.. I have lived here a few years now, and have seen them before, never seemingly to have a flower..but ...
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center