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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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.

 
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Monday - May 21, 2012

From: Sherwood, AR
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification, Vines
Title: Identification of a plant that looks like a watermelon.
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

A wild plant came up in my bed that looked like a watermelon plant. It had small yellow blooms and then marble balls formed with prickly thorns. The balls were in clusters. What kind of plant is it?

ANSWER:

This sounds a lot like Sicyos angulatus (One-seed burr cucumber).  Here are more photos and information from Virginia Tech's Weed Identification Guide, Illinois Wildflowers, and Connecticut Botanical Society.

Another possibility is Echinocystis lobata (Wild cucumber) and here are more photos and information from the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckman Herbarium.

If neither of these is the vine you have seen, you can look at other Arkansas native vines in our Native Plant Database by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH and selecting "Arkansas" from the Select State or Province slot and "Vine" from Habit (general appearance).  Or, if you have photos or can take them, you can find links to several plant identification forums on our Plant Identification page that will accept photos for identification.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


One-seed burr cucumber
Sicyos angulatus

Wild cucumber
Echinocystis lobata

Wild cucumber
Echinocystis lobata

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