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?


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
1 rating

Saturday - June 25, 2011

From: Charlotte, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I see a previous question from Ohio on this plant, so I will copy the description and try to submit photos. "A year later a weed-like plant started growing beside it. It has very thorny leaves, stems and stalk. Little purple flowers are growing from it. On some of the stems/branches there are three small watermelon looking pods growing. What could this be. The thorns are extremely strong and you can not pull it without some gloves. The stalk, stems, and leaves are all a solid light green. The pods look very much like "mini" watermelons. The flowers are a light purple with long petals that have not opened up yet - almost tear drop formed. What is this?


 This, I believe, is Solanum carolinense (Carolina horse-nettle).  Here are more photos and information.  Although it is a native plant, it is considered invasive in some areas.  The blossoms can be dark purple through shades of lavender to almost white.

If this isn't your plant, please visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that allow photo uploads.  Our Mr. Smarty Plants page does not support the attachment of photos by questioners.


From the Image Gallery

Carolina horse-nettle
Solanum carolinense

Carolina horse-nettle
Solanum carolinense

Carolina horse-nettle
Solanum carolinense

More Plant Identification Questions

Non-native eleagnus from Jesup GA
January 17, 2014 - An elderly farmer has told me about a plant called Alley Agnes, but I can't find any plant by this name anywhere. He doesn't know another name for it, says it's what everyone has always called it i...
view the full question and answer

Is there an App for that?
June 05, 2012 - Do you have an app like leafsnap that my students can use to identify the plants around our school? I would like them to take a picture of the leaf of each plant with their iPads and have your data b...
view the full question and answer

Identifying native sedges
October 14, 2013 - What's the best way to identify a specific sedge ?
view the full question and answer

Poison ivy in Hilliard OH?
June 15, 2009 - I found a plant with five jagged leaves growing close to the ground in the trees of Ohio. Is this poison ivy or a similar plant?
view the full question and answer

Plant ID in Flower Mound TX
June 23, 2009 - I have a large native tree in the back yard, leaves resembles a live oak, but evergreen,& small white flowers in the spring, very tall vase shaped tree. It had no acorns or berries.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center