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 - July 28, 2012

From: Lakeland, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a plant that looks like a suculent tree with a canopy like an umbrella. It grows every summer & is no more than 5 ft tall. It has tiny spines on it's trunk, which has white spots on it. the entire tree is a bright medium green color.the leaves look almost folded upward at the sides & there are 4 symetrical branches with leaves growing from the base all the way up. It grows next to my pond but is not submerged in any way. I have 3 of them- it honestly looks like a Dr. Suess tree. Do you have any idea what this is? I will send you a picture of it if you would like.

ANSWER:

The closest I can come to a plant that meets your description is Aralia spinosa (Devil's walkingstick).  Here are more photos from Duke University, Floridata and Missouri Plants.  These plants can grow to 20 feet, however.  Your question seems to indicate that yours disappear after the summer is gone.  Do you cut them down or do they die?

There is an African plant, Anchomanes dalzielii, that sounds a bit like your plant.   Here are photos.  However, I could not find any information about whether this plant has been found growing in Florida.

If neither of these happen to be the plant you have growing in your garden, please visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


Devil's walkingstick
Aralia spinosa

Devil's walkingstick
Aralia spinosa

Devil's walkingstick
Aralia spinosa

More Plant Identification Questions

Question about dwarf oyster plant, Tradescantia spathacea
June 12, 2009 - I sm looking for Dwarf Oyster plant like the one described about 3-4 inches in height, color green and purple. But the nurseries here in Clearwater FL don't seem to know what I am talking about. S...
view the full question and answer

Identification of purple wildflower shaped like a bottle rocket
June 19, 2013 - Dear Smarty Plants, the other day while driving north on 281 from San Antonio I noticed a purple wildflower that was shaped sort of like a bottle rocket, seemed to have leaves similar to verbena and ...
view the full question and answer

Looking for pink star grass (Rhodohypoxis milloides)
June 23, 2008 - I am looking for a wildflower/plant called Pink Star Grass (common name). I am not sure what the proper name is. Can you help me with this? I would like information on it, and also would like to pu...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification request from Wales, United Kingdom
November 17, 2011 - I have a plant that has green and pink leaves and the flowers are dry but are like fingers on a hand. The leaves drop down when it needs watering, which is every other day, and the finger shaped clust...
view the full question and answer

Looking for the identification of spice or cinnamon bush
May 30, 2011 - My grandmother had a flowering bush that had little yellow flowers on it and smelled like cinnamon to me. She called it a spice bush. Could you help me name that bush?
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