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

Monday - September 03, 2012

From: Jacksonville, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification, Edible Plants
Title: Identity of a plant in Florida with red fruit like a small tomato
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

It looks like a small tomato but it isn't. It has a bunch of flakey seeds on the inside, which are a light brown in color. The outside is red, and I think it starts out growing green and also white. The inside is white. It has thorns on the stem. It is also hard. It has no smell, and of course I'm not going to taste it incase it's posionous. Thanks.

ANSWER:

Lycium carolinianum (Carolina wolfberry) has thorny branches and red berries that look like small tomatoes.  Here are more photos and information from Plant Creations.  They are edible according to our species page, Plant Creations and Eat the Weeds.  You were wise not to sample them, however, since wolfberries are in the same plant family (Family Solanaceae-Potato Family) that includes some poisonous species—e.g., Solanum americanum (American nightshade).

If this doesn't happen to be the plant you described, you should photograph it and then 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


Carolina wolfberry
Lycium carolinianum

Carolina wolfberry
Lycium carolinianum

More Edible Plants Questions

Can I make my large pecan trees produce larger nuts?
November 14, 2013 - I have 2 older large pecan trees about 40' tall but the nuts are very small, only about 1 1/2". What can I do to get larger nuts?
view the full question and answer

Information about Cedar Sage from Austin
March 11, 2011 - I am new to the Austin area and was wondering about cedar sage (salvia roemeriana). Is this plant considered aromatic, non-aromatic of chia? And, other than the edible flower are other parts of the ...
view the full question and answer

Native edible plants
September 24, 2005 - Hello, I would like some resources for identifying native edible plants in Central Oregon. Good clear images will be very helpful in links or books. We do alot of hiking and would like to...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a plant with bumpy red fruit
April 26, 2011 - I have a bush with red berry like pods on it. They are about 3/4 of an inch bumpy round with a big seed inside. The leaves are smooth and oval shape. Please let me know if it is poisonous or not, and...
view the full question and answer

Failure of highbush blueberry plant to produce in New Hampshire
July 25, 2008 - One of my highbush blueberry plants completely stopped producing. What can I do to revive it?
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