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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - December 12, 2011

From: Monckscorner, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification, Shrubs
Title: Identification of shrub in South Carolina
Answered by: Nan Hampton


First, I'm in Iraq but trying to write a book and have a question on a plant that grows in South Carolina. All I can do is describe it. The bush is normally green but turns red, has large leaves, kind of waxy and produces black or deep purple berries that stain. Any info that you can provide would be much needed. Thank you.


You can search for shrubs native to South Carolina in our Native Plant Database by choosing COMBINATION SEARCH and selecting "South Carolina" from Select State or Province and "Shrub" from Habit (general appearance).  This search will give you more than 160 choices to look through.

 Here are some of the most likely possibilities from that list:

Photinia floribunda (Purple chokeberry) and here are more photos and information.  (Aronia floribunda is a synonym for Photinia floribunda.)

Photinia melanocarpa (Black chokeberry) and here are photos.

Here are some more photos of Photinias with some non-native Photinia spp. included.

Vaccinium corymbosum (Highbush blueberry) and here are more photos.

Vaccinium fuscatum (Black highbush blueberry) and here are photos.

Vaccinium myrsinites (Shiny blueberry and here are photos.

Viburnum nudum (Possumhaw viburnum) and here are more photos.

Viburnum prunifolium (Blackhaw) and here are more photos.

Viburnum rafinesquianum (Downy arrowwood)

Here are other possibilities from the list:

Amelanchier arborea (Common serviceberry) and here are more photos.

Amelanchier canadensis (Canadian serviceberry) and here are more photos.

Amelanchier obovalis (Coastal juneberry) on the threatened and endangered list in Maryland and Pennsylvania.  Here are photos.

Amelanchier stolonifera (Running serviceberry) and here are photos.

Gaylussacia baccata (Black huckleberry) and here are more photos.

Gaylussacia frondosa (Blue huckleberry) and here are photos.

Ilex coriacea (Large gallberry) with evergreen leaves and here are photos.

Ilex glabra (Inkberry) with evergreen leaves.

Persea palustris (Swamp bay) and here are more photos.

Finally, here is one more species that is shrub-like but is not a perennial.   It does have dark purple berries that stain.  It is Phytolacca americana (American pokeweed).

I hope you find your shrub in the ones shown above.  Good luck with your book!

Here are photos of some the shrubs listed above:


From the Image Gallery

Purple chokeberry
Photinia floribunda

Black highbush blueberry
Vaccinium fuscatum

Velvetleaf huckleberry
Vaccinium myrtilloides

Possumhaw viburnum
Viburnum nudum

Viburnum prunifolium

Downy arrowwood
Viburnum rafinesquianum

Ilex glabra

Black huckleberry
Gaylussacia baccata

American pokeweed
Phytolacca americana

American pokeweed
Phytolacca americana

More Plant Identification Questions

Identity of wild plum in Childress County, Texas
March 16, 2015 - I have a Wild Plum follow up question. My wife grew up around the Childress TX area. She remembers going around the creeks and gathering Wild Plums for her mother as a child. Would you have any ide...
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree with orange flowers in Mississippi
June 01, 2013 - Saw beautiful Orange colored flowers on a tree in Jackson MI. Can't find one that is hardy in our zone. It looked to be about the size and shape of an apple tree. What could it be?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
April 04, 2010 - There is a wildflower growing in my pasture. It is low growing, triangle leaves, flowers are blue, five petals with what looks like a white flower in the middle. Gods blessings to all there.
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
September 22, 2010 - I live in Austin. Texas. My garden has been lying fallow for several seasons and earlier this week I started clearing the weeds and wild flowers in hopes of getting our vegetable garden started again...
view the full question and answer

What is the orange vine that is covering the wildflowers from Llano, TX?
April 10, 2012 - What is the invasive orange vine that is covering the wildflowers on Texas highways?
view the full question and answer

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