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

Saturday - May 12, 2012

From: San Diego, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Identification, Vines
Title: Unusual vine in San Diego County, California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. or Ms. Smarty Pants, I came across an unusual vine winding through a young Zumaque growing off the edge of a mesa in San Diego (coastal sage scrub). The small (fingernail-sized)leaves roughly resembling poison oak in outline, but more the bright color of a grape leaf and not shiny. Leaves alternated sides along the vine. The flowers (diameter of a quarter) each had two downy white 'antennae' and white medusa-like petals curling out in all directions. Nothing like the wild cucumber, invasive nasturtium, wild grape, gourd, clematis vines I see. (GPS: 32.870207,-117.180723)

ANSWER:

After an extensive search, the closest match for your vine in San Diego County that I could find is Lonicera subspicata (Southern honeysuckle).  Here is more information from Calflora.  Here are more photos from CalPhotos, University of California, Berkeley and Calflora.  Here is the description from the Jepson Herbarium of the University of California, Berkeley.

If this isn't the vine you saw, you can see an extensive list of vines that grow in San Diego County, California (native and introduced) in the USDA Plants Database.  Choose "Advanced Search" from the sidebar.  On the "Advanced Search" page under Part A. 1. Distribution select "California: San Diego" from County Distribution.  Under Part A. 2. Taxonomy check the "Display" box by National Common Name (the Scientific Name is displayed by default).  Under Part A. 3. Ecology select "Vine" under Growth Habit and also click the box for "Display".  Scroll to the bottom of Part A and click on "Display Results".

Also, if you have a photo of the plant, you can visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several Plant Identification Forums that will accept photos for identification.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of yellow flowers in Wisconsin
June 19, 2012 - We have plants near Madison, Wisconsin that some call lanceleaf coreoposis however I believe they are some type of invasive species. They have yellow flowers, seem to spread by seed. and don't grown ...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID from Woodcreek TX
January 27, 2012 - I would like to attach a photo of a weed in my lawn and have you identify it. How do I send a photo? I have been told it may be ground ivy. Please tell me how to kill it without damaging the lawn.
view the full question and answer

Plant ID from San Marcos TX
June 07, 2014 - My dogs love to eat the leaves of a certain little orange wildflower. It might be Wedelia or Texas creeping oxeye. Have you ever heard of this?
view the full question and answer

Where do snake herb and skeleton-leaf goldeneye get their names?
October 05, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Where does snake herb, and skeleton leaf goldeneye get their names from? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
May 29, 2009 - I have a plant that I always thought was poison ivy. This spring however I saw an unusual flower on several of these plants. Three leaves and the flower almost looks like a wilted calla lily, but is a...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center