En Español

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

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

Wednesday - November 02, 2011

From: Clarksville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I have a plant that I would like to identify. It is a tall shrub/woody vine? (approx. 8-10 feet) that has very large thorns on its branches and stems. The stems remain green during winter. It loses its leaves (groups of 3, 1 to 1 oval leaves together) over the winter. The thorns on this plant are approx. 1-2 inches long. The fruit is about 1 in diameter and looks like a small orange. It smells like citrus and is packed with seeds. Any ideas what this might be?


This sounds like Poncirus trifoliata (Trifoliate orange).  It is a native of eastern Asia and considered invasive in many parts of the US.  Here are more photos and information.

If this is not your plant and you have photos, please visit our Plant Identification page where you will find links to several plant identification forums that accept photos for identification.


More Plant Identification Questions

How can I distinguish Hibiscus laevis from Pavonia braziliensis in New Braunfels, TX?
September 12, 2011 - How can I distinguish Hibiscus laevis (Halberdleaf Hibiscus) from Pavonia braziliensis (Brazillian Rock Rose)? Earlier this year I was given the former by a friend and former NPSOT chap...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plants seen at Disneyworld
May 11, 2007 - I was hoping for the answer to a certain plant that i have been trying figure out the name of and where i might be able to purchase this particular plant. I have seen it in the Bahamas, Hawaii, and re...
view the full question and answer

Thermopsis caroliniana not in database from Philadelphia
September 16, 2009 - Thermopsis caroliniana is not in your plant database. What is the reason for that? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
August 28, 2008 - Hello. There is a plant growing next to my 4 o'clocks that I didn't plant which is almost the same height as them, but has different leaves and it grows wider. It has these huge light green upside d...
view the full question and answer

Identification of volunteer tree
April 28, 2011 - I have a volunteer tree in my yard that has a mixture of serrated, non-serrated, and partially-serrated leaves on it. My tree identification guides all assume either serrated or non-serrated. How do...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center