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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - September 30, 2013

From: Theresa, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Plant Identification, Vines
Title: Identity of vine in New York
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hey there. I've recently found a "Wild Cucumber" vine in my backyard, which has been taking over our electric fence. Now I've stumbled across another very similar vine. They fruits are clustered together, in a bunch. Very small, not even an inch long, with large white seeds inside. They're also slightly spiny, but I'm unsure of how firm they are. They tend to stick to gloves rather well. When I first saw them, they reminded me of the "everlasting gobstoppers" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, only instead of varying colors, they're just green.

ANSWER:

Here is information about Echinocystis lobata (Wild cucumber) and here are more photos and information from Robert W. Freckman Herbarium University of Wisconsin.  

I think your other vine must be Sicyos angulatus (One-seed burr cucumber).  Here are more photos and information from Illinois Wildflowers and from Discover Life.  You are right—they do resemble "Everlasting Gobstoppers", only all green.

 

From the Image Gallery


Wild cucumber
Echinocystis lobata

One-seed burr cucumber
Sicyos angulatus

More Plant Identification Questions

Tentative identification of Viola sagittata
June 23, 2007 - I am trying to find name of wildflower, Violet growing in adjoning woods. I have not been able to find it on internet. The non-basal leaves are very irregular in shape, grow to six inches, no two ali...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on wildflower identification
September 23, 2004 - Can you recommend a good CD-ROM on wildflower identification? I live in Virginia and am constantly frustrated trying to identify the myriad wildflowers I encounter as I move around the state.
view the full question and answer

Identification of vine with feathery leaves and deep pink flowers
July 28, 2014 - I have growing up my porch what appears to be a vine with feathery leaves and small deep pink flowers. There is no water sources near by. Can you tell me what it is?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification from Springfield MA
July 19, 2009 - We have a house next to us that is vacant. The lawn has not been mowed in months. a tall flower has grown amongst the grass and weeds. It is about 3 to 4 feet tall green stem and the flower is about 2...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
August 11, 2008 - Just after the last little rain we got, I noticed a small, inconspicuous plant in my front yard that was sprouting a structure that looks for all the world like a pitcher plant. It is not, however, an...
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