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

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

Smarty Plants on epiphyllums
March 25, 2005 - I don't have a digital cameria, but I hope you can identify my plants easily by description. I believe they are called something similar to the word "epithelium". They look like a "mother-in-la...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of Texas bullnettle (Cnidoscolus texanus)
September 15, 2009 - I'm trying to identify a small thorny plant that I found growing on our (previously undeveloped) dry lot in Hutto, Central Texas. It has small white flowers and green thorny bulbs. The leaves and st...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification in Andover MA
November 12, 2009 - I live in MA. I have found a tree that produces an avocado like fruit with a round grooved pit. There are several of these trees in the fields where I walk and the ground is littered with these fruits...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
October 12, 2010 - Have two clippings from Monday the 11th that were growing out of small stumps. Tried to send you pictures of both cuttings of leaves. If you could tell me what you think they are, I would be thankful...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of bamboo-like plant in California
January 10, 2014 - We just bought a house in Cambria, CA. The plant I'd like to ID grows like bamboo -- spreading fibrous stalks abt 6' high with beautiful orange blossoms that protrude out the top of the stalk. The...
view the full question and answer

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