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?

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
3 ratings

Wednesday - October 16, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Thorny plants for a security perimeter in Austin TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, I am trying to establish a security perimeter around my property that incorporates thorny or otherwise deterrent shrubs and vines. Can you recommend some attractive native plants that would suit this purpose? Flowering would be a plus, but not a priority. I am in West Oak Hill in Austin, TX. Thank you!

ANSWER:

Here are some thorny plants that grow in Travis County that would make an unpleasant barrier to cross:

Mahonia trifoliolata (Agarita) is an evergreen shrub with very prickly leaves.   It has small fragrant yellow flowers in the spring that produce edible red berries.

Acacia farnesiana (Huisache) has yellow flowers and lots of small thorns.  Its common name, huisache, is derived from Nahuatl and means many thorns.

Mimosa aculeaticarpa var. biuncifera (Catclaw mimosa) has recurved prickles along its branches and showy pink flowers.

Zanthoxylum hirsutum (Texas hercules' club) has prickles on its branches very much like a rose bush.

Zanthoxylum clava-herculis (Hercules' club) also has very spiny branches.

Sideroxylon lanuginosum (Gum bumelia) has sharp thorns along it branches.  Here are photos from the Image Archive of Central Texas Plants that show the thorns.

Smilax bona-nox (Saw greenbrier) is a vine that forms thick tangles and has sharp, stout prickles that discourage movement through them.

You might mix these shrubs and vines to make an attractive, but formidable, barrier.  Most of these do have attractive flowers and many are fragrant.

 

From the Image Gallery


Agarita
Mahonia trifoliolata

Catclaw mimosa
Mimosa aculeaticarpa var. biuncifera

Huisache
Vachellia farnesiana

Texas hercules' club
Zanthoxylum hirsutum

Hercules club
Zanthoxylum clava-herculis

Gum bumelia
Sideroxylon lanuginosum

Saw greenbrier
Smilax bona-nox

More Privacy Screening Questions

Looking for a Privacy Barrier Plant for NC
August 21, 2014 - I am trying to determine the best plant for a privacy barrier for my area in NC that has clay soil. I have a 6 foot high fence but need something 12 feet or taller. It has to be something that does no...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for privacy hedge in New River, AZ.
June 05, 2012 - Hi! I live on a acre that is fenced and cross-fenced with 6' chain link. I am desperate to find a drought tolerant, very low water, non-toxic, fast growing privacy hedge or vine that I can plant arou...
view the full question and answer

Privacy Screening Plant for New York Narrow Site
April 20, 2013 - I need privacy screening on the side of my house in Mount Kisco, New York located 40 miles north of New York City. The area gets plenty of sun but is somewhat narrow. What evergreen bushes or trees ...
view the full question and answer

Low privacy hedge in Houston
June 17, 2009 - I am looking for a fast growing, dense (for privacy) shrub/s or plants, that will get at least 3-4+ feet high for a mostly shady area. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Puppy-friendly privacy screen in Montana
November 02, 2012 - I need some puppy-friendly short(< 30') privacy from the gigantic windows of my next door neighbor. But- there are power lines above the area that I needed to plant! I had planned on an aspen grove, ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center