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

Tuesday - January 15, 2013

From: Belton, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Vines
Title: Identification of vine with large leaves and blue-black berries
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I visited a creek with a limestone seep spring that supplies it. Around the creek is growing some kind plant that has leaves that are very similar to a briar, or snailseed. However, the leaves of the vine are huge. They are literally bigger than the size of an adult hand. Not only are the leaves big, but the blue/black berries that hang on it are about marble sized. What is this? I've looked and can't find something similar. Also, there are smaller briars growing nearby that are normal sized, so my guess is that it is a different species and soil or water source is not the cause of the size.

ANSWER:

The best match I can think of for your description above is Vitis cinerea.  Correll & Johnston in Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas (p. 1018) give the length of the leaves as 1 to 2 dm (~4 to 8 inches) and the maximum size of the fruits as 9mm (almost 3/8 inches).

Shinners & Mahlers Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas, (p. 1070 with a line drawing on p. 1073) says that V. cinerea var. cinerea generally has leaves that are more than 10 cm (~4 inches) long; whereas, Vitis cinerea var. helleri (Winter grape) generally has leaves that are less than 10 cm in length.  The maximum size of the fruits given by Shinners & Mahler is also 9mm (almost 3/8 inches).

Vitis cinerea var. helleri is shown in Bell County on the distribution map in the USDA Plants Database.

Vitis cinerea var. cinerea is shown in adjacent Milam County on the distribution map in the USDA Plants Database, but not in Bell County.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Winter grape
Vitis cinerea var. helleri

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification in Parker County, Texas
June 14, 2011 - Hi. Growing alongside a country road, here in Parker County I photographed what I thought might be cardinal flowers. However, in searching books and on the net, I cannot find any quite like these. ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
August 04, 2012 - We found a bush on our ranch in southern Gonzales County. It has oval shaped leaves about an inch long. There are no thorns on the branches. Fruit is round and smooth, the size of a small cherry to...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification request
September 15, 2007 - I took a trip to Arizona in 9/06. While out walking through public land I encountered a beautiful plant with very distinctive leaves, color of woody stems and flowers. I have scoured the USDA plant ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a mushroom in England
June 02, 2011 - I have a fungi I cannot recognize. It has a whitish soft pithy stem about 2/3 mm wide and approximately 6-10cm long. It has no leaves just a white flower/seed case on the top of the stem. This head is...
view the full question and answer

Does goldenball leadtree (Leucaena retusa) have thorns?
July 26, 2010 - I have a plant that I am told is a native Texas plant, but the person I got it from could not remember its name. They said it was very hardy and drought tolerant. It looks a little like goldenball lea...
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