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
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
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 ½” 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

Identity of maroon flower taking over bluebonnets
April 14, 2008 - there is a maroon colored flowering weed at my ranch in Oakwood Texas. It is taking over the bluebonnets and indian paint brushes. Can you tell me what it is and how to get rid of it.
view the full question and answer

Invasive vine with yellow flowers in Austin
June 21, 2015 - What is the invasive vine in Austin that has wire like stems and small leaves. It just blossomed huge yellow flowers this spring. It climbs cliff, trees, bldgs., etc.
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
April 01, 2009 - I have small shiny red berries growing on a tropical appearing shrub with green and marled yellow leaves. The leaves have widely serrated edges. The berries have a large seed inside and very little fl...
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant that resembles rosemary in Georgia
August 13, 2012 - Hi, I am an herbalist, but have been unable to identify this plant and it's driving me nuts since I cannot find any information on it. I live in NE Ga and have a plant that grows here that looks li...
view the full question and answer

Identification of pale blue flower near Big Bend, TX
March 14, 2013 - I have looked almost everywhere in order to ID this bloom with no luck. Some blooms do arrive close but not quite. I live just outside of Big Bend National Park in Terlingua, TX. On a hike into Dog Ca...
view the full question and answer

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