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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Friday - September 12, 2014

From: Spartanburg, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Invasive Plants, Vines
Title: Aggressive vine with purple flowers in South Carolina
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Found an aggressive climbing vine with purple flowers in out vegetable garden. This garden was cleaned and new dirt, mulch and manure was put in in the spring. It was raked out after the infusion of dirt etc. and sat for a couple weeks before planting. Now, as the tomatoes, beans, kale, etc are coming up nicely, there is this vine where the peppers should be. What should I do with it? is it a weed? Thanks

ANSWER:

Here are some likely suspects from the South Carolina native vine ranks:

Passiflora incarnata (Purple passionflower)  Although a beautiful vine, it does occur on the U. S. Weeds list.  It can be quite aggressive.  Read more from Loyola University's Center for Environmental Communication.

Ipomoea cordatotriloba var. cordatotriloba (Tievine)  It is cited in our species page as an aggressive grower.  Here is a link to a previous question about this plant.

If your plant is not one of these two, you can do a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database.  Choose "South Carolina" from the Select State or Province slot; "Vine" from Habit (general appearance), "Blue", "Purple", and "Violet" from Bloom Color to see if there is another native vine that it could be.  You can also check the Clemson University publication, Invasive Plant Species of South Carolina, for possibilities.

Is it a weed?   One definition of a weed is:  A weed is a plant growing somewhere it isn't wanted. 

So you'll have to decide if its beauty outweighs its invasiveness.

 

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