Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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
1 rating

Saturday - June 20, 2015

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Vines
Title: Identity of fleshy three-leaved vine in Central Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a 3 leaved evergreen vine, that I assume is a central Texas native, growing in my yard in a non irrigated mostly shady spot. It has a strong odor when touched and looks and feels like a succulent. I have not been able to find it in any book or online. Any ideas on what it could be? It is definitely not poison ivy or Virginia Creeper.

ANSWER:

This sounds like Cissus trifoliata (Grape ivy).  Another common name is cowitch vine. It has three-lobed fleshy leaves that emit a strong odor when crushed.  It is a member of the Family Vitaceae (Grape Family); however, its berries are not edible.  They contain toxic levels of oxalic acid, according to Delena Tull in Edible and Useful Plants of the Southwest:  Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.  2013.  University of Texas Press.

 

From the Image Gallery


Cow-itch vine
Cissus trifoliata

Cow-itch vine
Cissus trifoliata

More Plant Identification Questions

Smarty Plants on Jimsonweed
August 07, 2005 - White flowers that are seen a lot along hwy 58 east towards Tehachapi; they look like "angel's trumpet" but not sure... they are big, white and have dark green leaves and cluster in a bush..any ideas?
view the full question and answer

Plant identfication
August 16, 2009 - We live in a forested area in Rockmart,GA. There is a creek in the woods and a lily type plant that only flowers occasionally. It is white in the center and has thin white spires that jut out from t...
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant with cluster of bell-shaped flowers and 2 leaves
April 21, 2012 - In Kirtland, Ohio. Clay soil. Woodsy, moist area. Stem sticks up about 6 inches; stem is bare except for top inch, where 2 leaves and cluster of white drooping bell-like flowers appear. Ball-shaped ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification from Alpharetta GA
September 28, 2009 - I found a thorny bush in a yard. It had either immature fruit or a seed pod that I would like identified. The pod was a little larger than a golf ball, yellow, and a little fuzzy. When cut open it ...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID for that looks like lemon verbena
May 03, 2014 - I have a weed that looks a bit like Lemon Verbena with tiny purple flowers sprouting again this spring in my pasture. It seems to like sandy, acidy sunny areas and smells nice when you even brush up ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.