En EspaŅol

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
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
Not Yet Rated

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

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification of conifer-like low plant in Alabama
September 27, 2011 - When walking in woods of Alabama we found a plant that grows along the ground. looks like a conifer about 2 or 3 inches tall, has a trailing vine under the leaves and pops up little sprigs of greener...
view the full question and answer

Moonnflower native to North America
June 30, 2008 - Is the plant called moon flower a native plant to North America?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Jimsonweed
August 07, 2005 - White flowers that are seen a lot along hwy 58 east towards Tehachapi; they look like "angel's trumpet" but not sure... they are big, white and have dark green leaves and cluster in a bush..any ideas?
view the full question and answer

Ivy with holes in its leaves
May 31, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Pants, Please help me, I was given an ivy (origin unknown). It is peculiar. It has holes in the leaves, not from bugs or from bacteria, etc. It is natural, the holes develop in some type...
view the full question and answer

Bulb identification
December 10, 2009 - My pinecone ginger (Zingiber zerumbet), my white ginger (Hedychium coronarium) and my cana lilly roots were all accidently put in the same box and now I can't tell which is which. Is there some sort ...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center