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 13, 2011

From: Morgan Hill, CA
Region: California
Topic: Vines
Title: Problems with non-native Potato vine from Morgan Hill CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Greetings from Morgan Hill. CA. I have moved into a home that has a fairly mature (10 years +/-) Potato Tree which has some blue/purple flowers but very few new leaves, it looks almost barren. It gets 8 hrs sunlight, regular watering (in lawn) and good soil. Everything else in the yard is growing great, But this poor tree looks sad. Small birds are using it to roost near a bird feeder. Maybe eating new buds? Thanks,

ANSWER:

We had to take your word on it that there was such a thing, as we had never heard of it. Turns out it is a Chilean Potato Vine, or Blue Potato Vine, as described in this article. We are assuming that is what you are talking about.

Actually, it appears there are two, both in the Solanum, genus, related to potatoes. One, Solanum macranthum is native to Brazil; the other, Solanum crispum, is the Chilean plant.

Obviously, both are tropicals and non-native to North America. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plants are being grown.

We found one more article on Solanum macranthum, with some growing and care information, but nothing about the problem you mention. Since it is not in our Native Plant Database, and also a tropical that probably wouldn't grow in Texas, so we could maybe find someone with experience with it, we are suggesting you contact the University of California Cooperative Extension Office for Santa Clara County.

 

More Vines Questions

Rash resulting from cutting trees in NC.
May 08, 2012 - My boyfriend was cutting some trees yesterday. He had thorns in his hands after he was done, and today he has a rash on his legs, a fever and he feels like throwing up. Can you tell me if its symptoms...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification request for a vine
September 19, 2007 - I would like to identify a wild vine that I have just discovered in our bush. It has leaves similar in shape to a maple leaf,approx.4"wide, has white flower spikes, and some kind of a fruit or pod t...
view the full question and answer

Identification of vine in Stony Brook NY
May 29, 2009 - Identify- vine type, Thorny stem, medium size leaves, color medium green with a jagged-reddish edge, leaf shape oblong, small white flowers. Growing in a patch of English green ivy. Looks invasive. ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for pergola in Lubbock TX
May 29, 2013 - I need suggestions of plants, vines, bushes to plant in my backyard near my wooden pergola that will work well in full sun in Lubbock, TX. Ideally, I'd like some that attract hummingbirds and provide...
view the full question and answer

Are grape vines killing oaks in San Antonio
December 20, 2009 - I have some large live oaks growing in sand on some property I have south of San Antonio that are slowly dying one limb at a time. Some large mustang grape vines are growing in and around them and I ...
view the full question and answer

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