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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 is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - September 07, 2011

From: Roxboro, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Invasive Plants, Plant Identification, Poisonous Plants
Title: Plant identification of tree in North Carolina
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in North Carolina have found a tree on our property that has thorny branches and round fruit (perfectly round) with a fuzzy outer layer that starts out green but then turns yellow. The inside resembles some kind of citrus fruit. They grow separately and not in clusters. What kind of tree is this? Thanks, Tara

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants believes your tree is Poncirus trifoliata (trifoliate orange) an invasive plant from China and North Korea.  Here are more photos and information.  You shouldn't try eating the fruit since it is listed as mildly toxic in the Poisonous Plants of North Carolina database.  It can also cause skin irritation. 

If this isn't the plant you described and you have photos of it, please visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that accept photos of plants for identification.

 

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