Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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

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

Plant identification in Michigan
May 26, 2010 - We are trying to identify a plant in our yard. It is seven inches tall in May, grows to about knee high, has red leaves, flowers in late June, early July. The flower is light pink. It is a perennia...
view the full question and answer

Plant in Las Vegas with fern-like foliage and yellow/orange/red flowers
August 21, 2011 - We were in North Las Vegas and saw a beautiful plant, I would love to find it. It had a fern like foliage at the bottom with long thin stems and a flower clump at the top with yellow/orange/red flower...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
May 24, 2009 - It is a small, thin vine growing in the grass in the shadier parts of the lawn. Every 3-4 inches it has two thin stems about three inches long sprouting from almost exactly the same place on the vine...
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree with round purple leaves
May 14, 2014 - What is tne name of the purple leaf tree whose leaves are spherical? Maybe 1 to 2" in diameter? A neighbor who has moved now, had one but cut it down before i could find out or rescue it. It wasnt ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of bluebonnet-like flower
May 14, 2012 - I have discovered a plant that looks like a bluebonnet but is much larger. It has leggy stems and similar leaf structure and the bonnet in more compact with purple vs blue flowers. The plant is growin...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.