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
1 rating

Friday - August 09, 2013

From: New Caney, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Vines
Title: Mystery berries on vine in Montgomery County, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

While out in the woods today on Caney Creek near Grangerland, Texas, I found what I thought to be some grapes on a vine hanging down from a tree. I brought the vine down, but when I got it home to process the berries, I noticed the leaves were not that of a wild Texas grape. There were no thorns on the vine and the leaves were scarce. The leaves themselves are about 1 1/2" long, shiny, bright green, and are between 1/2" to 1" wide. The berries are reddish purple to purple, 1/2" in diameter and are in clusters of around 8-10 berries. There are more than one cluster on a stem of the vine. The berries have a purple skin that stains, a white/clear center with seeds just like a wild grape. I have pictures but can't submit them via this page. Any help in identifying my mystery berries would be appreciated.

ANSWER:

From your description of the leaves, it sounds as if you have found one of the vines of the greenbrier family.  There are a couple with leaves similarly shaped that grow in Montgomery County or in an adjacent county.  They are both described as sometimes having thorns—but not always.  From the Family Smilacaceae (Greenbrier Family):

Smilax smallii (Lanceleaf greenbrier) with mostly spineless stems.  Here is more information from Georgia Wildlife Federation and more photos from Discover Life.  Here is the USDA Plant Database Texas county distribution map with this species shown growing in Walker, San Jacinto and Harris counties.

Smilax laurifolia (Laurel greenbriar) may have spines or may be spineless.  Here is more information and photos from Virginia Tech.  Here is the USDA Plants Database Texas county distribution map with it shown in Walker County.

Here are some members of the Family Vitaceae (Grape Family) that occur in Montgomery County or an adjacent county that could potentially be your vine. These would all have fruits with flesh and seeds very similar to grapes.

Ampelopsis arborea (Peppervine)  Here is the USDA Plants Database Texas county distribution map.

Ampelopsis cordata (Heartleaf peppervine)  Here is the USDA Plants Database Texas county distribution map.

Vitis rotundifolia (Muscadine)  Here is the USDA Plants Database Texas county distribution map.

Vitis vulpina (Frost grape)  Here is the USDA Plants Database Texas county distribution map.

Vitis mustangensis (Mustang grape)  Here is the USDA Plants Database Texas county distribution map.

If none of these are the plant you found, please 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


Lanceleaf greenbrier
Smilax smallii

Peppervine
Ampelopsis arborea

Heartleaf peppervine
Ampelopsis cordata

Muscadine
Vitis rotundifolia

Frost grape
Vitis vulpina

Mustang grape
Vitis mustangensis

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
June 16, 2011 - I have a photo of a shrubby plant with large spines. Is there a way for me to attach it? I'm having trouble identifying it. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
November 01, 2007 - I am trying to identify a wild flowering plant. It grows in pastures near Rhome Texas. How can I email a digital photo to you to look at it??
view the full question and answer

Smoketree not flowering in Beverly Hills CA
June 29, 2011 - Why is my Smoke tree not flowering? It is big and the leaves are beautiful but no blooms.
view the full question and answer

Tall lily with dark berry at leaf attachment
June 25, 2012 - A lily showed up in my flower garden last year (central Illinois); about 3' tall, a single dark berry at the stem where each leaf is attached. It didn't flower. This year it's approaching 4' tall ...
view the full question and answer

Identity of a plant in Ohio
May 11, 2009 - Trying to identify a tree/shrub in Ohio. It grows from 6-8', and blooms through the summer. It has small green glossy leaves, and bell/trumpet shaped flowers in pink, white, or yellow with stripes. T...
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