En EspaÑol

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?


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


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.


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
March 11, 2009 - Hello. I don't know if this is a North American native plant, but here's my question: I have a soft, low groundcover that looks like a miniature version of Foxtail Fern. Lowe's folks suggested it m...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 10, 2008 - Mr. Smarty Plants, My neighbor gave me a plant that is about 3 foot tall, has a main stalk, and leaves that produce small “baby” plants at the edge of the leaves. These plants grow roots and once dev...
view the full question and answer

ID of plant from florist in Moorestown NJ
November 21, 2009 - I recently purchased a cut stem from the local florist for an autumn flower arrangement. The leaves are very, very small and bamboo-like in looks. They are not oval and are 1/8 inches long. The bra...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 12, 2014 - We live in Magnolia TX and have a shrub we can't identify. It's evergreen and has waxy leaves with a serrated edge that are about an inch in length. They have pink flowers and they grow to ab...
view the full question and answer

Will Butterfly Plant Survive in Mansfield, Texas
January 06, 2012 - I have a butterfly plant that was very successful (about 4 feet tall) right up until the cold snap three weeks ago. I've read they have a tap root, so I'm hoping it will come back next spring. Mea...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center