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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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Friday - August 07, 2015

From: El Paso, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Vines
Title: Identification of vining shrub near Fort Worth
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Please let me know what this plant might be. Saw it one county west of Ft. Worth, in a wooded area, and I've never seen this in this region before. The form is a vining shrub. Leaves are heart-shaped, dark green, and pointed. There are red berries held closely along the stems, about the size of big cherries. Also it was one of a kind. Nothing else like it anywhere around plus it is in a very rural wooded area and there's no way this was planted here. Thanks!

ANSWER:

My best guess for the vining shrub that you saw is Ampelopsis cordata (Heartleaf peppervine).  It is a member of the Family Vitaceae (Grape Family).  The fruits are not quite as large as you indicated, however.  It does occur in both Erath and Palo Pinto Counties, west of Fort Worth, according to the USDA Plants Database Distribution Map.

Another possibility is Cocculus carolinus (Carolina snailseed) but its fruits are also smaller than cherries.  Here are more photos from Plant of the Week and Hilton Pond Center.  It occurs in Tarrant, Parker and Erath Counties according to the USDA Plants Database Distribution Map.

There is also Ibervillea lindheimeri (Balsam gourd) with larger red fruit but leaves that couldn't exactly be called heartshaped.  It occurs in Tarrant, Palo Pinto and Erath Counties on the USDA Plants Database Distribution Map.

 

From the Image Gallery


Heartleaf peppervine
Ampelopsis cordata

Heartleaf peppervine
Ampelopsis cordata

Carolina snailseed
Cocculus carolinus

Balsam gourd
Ibervillea lindheimeri

Balsam gourd
Ibervillea lindheimeri

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