En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Identification of vine with hair-like prickles

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

Friday - January 04, 2013

From: Vicksburg, MS
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification, Problem Plants, Vines
Title: Identification of vine with hair-like prickles
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Trying to find out what kind of vine I ran into yesterday while climbing a deer stand. While pushing limbs and vines down from around me, I noticed hair-like thorns stuck in my sleeves and hands. This vine had little green pods, slightly larger than a raisin, with those kinda yellow hair-like thornes approximately 3/8" long. They immediately stick into whatever touches them. Got one in my eye..no joke!

ANSWER:

Your vine is still a bit of a mystery to me, but I have one good possibility, Sicyos angulatus (One-seed burr cucumber).   You can see more photos from Connecticut Botanical Society and here is more information from the University of Michigan's Plant Diversity Website and Illinois Wildflowers.  None of these sites talks about it being a prickly threat to humans, but I can see how it might be if you encountered it while pushing through thick undergrowth.

Here are a few other prickly vines that you might run into (literally) in your area, but they don't match your description as well as the burr cucumber does.  You should do your best to avoid contact with them, however!

Rubus trivialis (Dewberry)

Smilax bona-nox (Saw greenbrier)

Smilax tamnoides (Bristly greenbriar) and here are photos from Virginia Tech.

Smilax glauca (Cat greenbrier) and here are photos from University of Wisconsin's Freckmann Herbarium

Smilax rotundifolia (Roundleaf greenbrier) and here are photos.

Tragia cordata (Heartleaf noseburn) has stinging hairs on its stems and leaves but only grows to about 3 feet.  It delivers a nasty sting, however, when you touch it.   Here are photos from Missouri Plants.

Tragia urticifolia (Nettleleaf noseburn) is another short vine with stinging hairs.   Here are photos from Missouri Plants.

 

From the Image Gallery


One-seed burr cucumber
Sicyos angulatus

More Plant Identification Questions

Moonnflower native to North America
June 30, 2008 - Is the plant called moon flower a native plant to North America?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 07, 2010 - There are large trees with brilliant orange flowers around Naples FL. Can you tell me what this is?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
September 26, 2009 - I came back from vacation to find a wild herb growing in my back yard. It looks similar to dill, cilantro, or fennel; which makes me think it's in the umbrelliferae family, but it's not a large plan...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of plant with leaves like poison ivy
July 30, 2013 - I would like to identify a plant whose leaves look like poison ivy, but the stem is white and has thorns. It is not thready. It was prevalent in overgrown garden beds of a house in Litchfield, CT. ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of non-native Grape Hyacinth
April 13, 2013 - Mr Smarty Plants, can you tell me please, what is the name of the flower in the attached link? I see numerous references to it as blue bells or bluebells, but when I check the USDA Plants database, no...
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