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

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 ID in Woodbury TN
July 07, 2009 - Please help identify this unusual plant. I am in Middle TN, Cannon County. This plant comes up every year and looks like something tropical. It has huge leaves about 16 + inches wide. and grows abo...
view the full question and answer

Identification of grasses for grazing from La Luz NM
November 05, 2012 - I live in southern New Mexico. I have pictures of a few types of grass that I can't find anyone to help me identify with a name for livestock food. Can you help me with it? If so I can send the pi...
view the full question and answer

Instructions for sending photos for identifying plants
October 23, 2007 - I purchased a plant in Athens, GA at the trial garden at UGA. I have two pictures that I can email. It's growing really tall (over 6"). It has big, dark green leaves that are rough to the touch. It ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
October 12, 2008 - I found gorgeous berries on a tree or large bush (about 10 feet tall) and clipped a little cluster the size of my hand. There are 6 or more, starting the size of a blueberry in lime green and growing ...
view the full question and answer

Looking for pink star grass (Rhodohypoxis milloides)
June 23, 2008 - I am looking for a wildflower/plant called Pink Star Grass (common name). I am not sure what the proper name is. Can you help me with this? I would like information on it, and also would like to pu...
view the full question and answer

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