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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.

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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.

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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.

 
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Tuesday - June 07, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Please help me identify this volunteer plant in my back yard in Austin, TX. It has long thorns. Thank you.

ANSWER:

It would be nice to know what size your plant is and if it is a shrub or herbaceous plant since your photos were not uploaded with your question.   Our database will not accept photos. 

Here are some native possibilities for your thorny plant.  If it is a shrub (a woody plant), it could be:

All the above are natives.  There are also a couple of non-natives it might be, Pyracantha coccinea (pyracantha or firethorn) or Poncirus trifoliata (trifoliate orange).

If none of the above are your plant, you could send us a more complete description (whether it is woody or herbaceous, how large it is, the leaf shape and arrangement on the stem—alternate or opposite, whether it has conspicous flowers or fruits), we might have a better luck in identifying it.  You can also visit our Plant Identification page to find links for garden forums that accept photos for identification.

Here are photos of the above plants from our Image Gallery:


Sideroxylon lanuginosum

 


Zanthoxylum clava-herculis


Erythrina herbacea


Acacia farnesiana

 

 


Prosopis glandulosa


Parkinsonia aculeata


Maclura pomifera

 

 

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