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?

Share

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

Tuesday - January 31, 2012

From: Peru, IL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Plant Identification
Title: Identification of bushes with red berries in Tennessee
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I was recently traveling thru Clarksville, TN and saw these bushes (at the shopping mall) that had clusters of small red berries on them. They were not a Holly that I know of. The leaves were not thick & shiny like holly..more of a narrow pointed leaf. The berries were in clusters hanging (such as grapes). I would love to find out what these are and if they would grow in Illinois. Thanks for your help :-)

ANSWER:

If it is a native shrub, you can search for it in our Native Plant Database by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH.  Choose "Tennessee" from the Select State or Province option and "Shrub" from Habit (general appearance).  This will give you a list of 150 species with thumbnail photos to do a preliminary search.  When you find a photo that is similar to the shrub, you can go to the species page to see a description and more photos.  I assume that the shrub is evergreen since you mention leaves and berries together.  You can also limit your search to evergreens under the heading Leaf retention.  I didn't find any evergreen shrubs that matched your description, but you should look through them yourself.     Here also is a webpage from Eastern Tennessee Wildflowers showing shrubs with fruits to look through.

The fact that you saw the shrubs at a shopping mall, however, is likely to mean that they are a cultivated import.  One shrub that comes to mind is Nandina domestica (heavenly bamboo).  Although it is an attractive evergreen shrub it, unfortunately, is listed by Invasive.org.  Here is more information about the invasiveness of heavenly bamboo from Texas Invasives.  If it is heavenly bamboo, we would hope you wouldn't want to try to grow it in Illinois because of its potential invasiveness.  Additionally, its "hardiness" is listed by Floridata as being Zones 6 to 9.  Clarksville, Tennessee appears to be in the USDA Hardiness Zone 7a; but Peru, Illinois in La Salle County appears to be USDA Hardiness Zone 5b.  Heavenly bamboo would probably have a difficult time growing there anyway since your temperatures fall below those of Zone 6.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Red Shrimp Plant Poisonous for Dogs?
March 07, 2015 - Is the Red Shrimp Plant poison to dogs?
view the full question and answer

Identifying non-native lichens from Austin
February 23, 2013 - Can you provide help identifying lichens? If not, can you suggest someone who can?
view the full question and answer

Yellow leaves on non-native pittisporum in Wharton TX
March 17, 2009 - Green pittisporum that I planted 2 years ago and 1 year ago are getting a lot of yellow leaves. Variegated pittisporum that I planted at the same 2 times are doing fine.
view the full question and answer

Planting iris rhizomes in Wisconsin
October 10, 2008 - I live in central WI and was given some iris bulbs (think they are called Rhizomes) and have no idea how to go about planting them. I am very new to planting so step by step instructions with good de...
view the full question and answer

Sticky stuff dripping from non-native crape myrtle in Austin
August 01, 2012 - There is sticky sap-like stuff dropping from the very large crepe myrtle in my yard. The tree has quit blooming. This didn't happen last year when it was so dry; it started after we had all the rain ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center