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

Sunday - July 01, 2012

From: Lewisville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Vines
Title: Identification of cucumber-like plant with red fruit
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi; My name is Peter, live in Lewisville. When I walked through a park trail last year, I noticed a very strange vine described as the following: It is vine with leaves and stems (size and shape) look almost "exact" as creeping cucumber, it climbs on the trees, the young fruit looks just likes a baby waterlemon with beautiful green/light green or yellow strips, if you just see the young fruit, you will definitely say it is a baby water melon; the ripe fruit is beautiful shinny red color with size about 1 to 1.5 inch perfect round ball shape. I picked a ripe fruit, cut it, the inside is not juicy, pretty hollow with about 10 black round ball-like seeds. Can you identify this beautiful plant and give me some detailed information or web sites if possible? Thanks. Peter

ANSWER:

Your plant description sounds like Ibervillea lindheimeri (Lindheimer's globeberry).  It is a member of the Family Cucurbitaceae (Cucumber Family).  Here are more photos and information from the School of Biological Sciences, University of Texas and from Texas Agrilife Reasearch and Extension Center in Uvalde, Texas.

It isn't poisonous, but it also isn't edible.   You can see a discussion about this aspect of it from the answer to a previous question.  You can also see more information about the edibility of the plant, in particular its roots, on the Texas Beyond History page.

For more information about globeberry, scroll to the bottom of the species page on our Native Plant Database (cited above) to the section labeled Additional Resources and click on the species name under USDA link and under the Google link.

 

From the Image Gallery


Balsam gourd
Ibervillea lindheimeri

Balsam gourd
Ibervillea lindheimeri

Balsam gourd
Ibervillea lindheimeri

Balsam gourd
Ibervillea lindheimeri

More Plant Identification Questions

Differences in prostrate Mimosa species
May 27, 2013 - There are apparently a lot of little pink puffy-flowered prostrate plants with thorny stems and sensitive leaves: Mimosa microphylla, Mimosa roemeriana, Mimosa strigillosa. How does one tell them apar...
view the full question and answer

Unidentified stalk, possibly manfreda, from San Marcos TX
May 23, 2014 - I had a very weird stalk pop up in my yard in San Marcos TX this month (May 2014) It bloomed very quickly and appears to be a manfreda but there is no rosette, or leaves of any kind - just the thick o...
view the full question and answer

Identity of a plant with opposite leaves in Washington
June 09, 2009 - My friend just bought a house and in the front yard are some bushes. I don't have a picture, but they are only 1-2 feet tall now. They have these unusual stems, throughout the entire bush. They are v...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID from Cocoa FL
April 18, 2014 - I am trying to identify a plant that looks like a rose bush. It has rose-like thorns. The leaves are green, slender, acute at the tip, slightly unequal at the base and the leaf stem grows closer to ...
view the full question and answer

ID for two flowers blooming in November in Buda TX
November 29, 2015 - two different plants growing in my wild area. 1. springs of tiny yellow flowers atop almost foot tall woody stem. 2. Clump of tiny near white bud like flowers. clump about 6 to 8 inches across on ...
view the full question and answer

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