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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - November 17, 2015

From: Naquabo, Puerto Ric
Region: Other
Topic: Shrubs, Trees
Title: Thorn bushes for a fence in Puerto Rico
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I'm looking for thorn bushes that grow in Puerto Rico. Want to use as fence to keep wild life in. Thanks, at least 5 ft tall so dogs can't get out.

ANSWER:

In a publication from the USDA Forest Service edited by John K. Francis "Wildland Shrubs of the United States and Its Territories: Thamnic Descriptions: Volume 1" General Technical Report IITF-GTR-26, July 2004, I found these thorny shrubs/trees that are native to Puerto Rico and could potentially serve as a living fence for you.

Acacia farnesiana (Huisache) [synonym = Vachellia farnesiana (Sweet acacia)] is native to Puerto Rico and you can find a description of it in the above publication "Wildland Shrubs..." on pp. 14-15.

Senegalia westiana (Zarza brava or Catch and keep) [synonym = Acacia retusa] is native to Puerto Rico and you can find a description of it in the above publication "Wildland Shrubs..." on pp. 19-20.

Acacia tortuosa (Huisachillo or twisted acacia) [synonym = Vachellia tortuosa (Poponax)] is native to Puerto Rico and you can find a description of it in the above publication "Wildland Shrubs..." on pp. 21-22.

Agave missionum (Corita) is native to Puerto Rico and you can find a description of it in the above publication "Wildland Shrubs..." on pp. 34-35.

Mimosa ceratonia (Zarza or Black ambret) is native to Puerto Rico and you can find a description of it in "Wildland Shrubs..." on pp. 487-488.  Of all the plant species listed above this one seems to have the greatest potential to serve you needs.  Here is a quote from p. 488 of the "Wildland Shrubs...":

"Thickets and tangles of zarza are almost impenetrable to humans. Paths may be cut to allow passage, but they soon grow over. Because of the thorns, cattle will not eat zarza ... , but it is browsed by goats. ... Zarza is a valuable honey plant ... , protects the soil, and serves as wildlife cover."

 

More Shrubs Questions

Shrubs for 2,000 feet Elevation in AZ
January 23, 2016 - What shrubs can I plant in New River, AZ, 2,000 feet above sea level?
view the full question and answer

Are Carolina Cherry Laurel seeds poisonous from Asheville NC
August 14, 2012 - I have a Carolina cherry laurel in my back yard that is dropping berries into my vegetable garden beds. May be a silly question, but will the berries poison the plants (and me) when I eat them?
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Narrow, Dry, Shaded Site in Georgia
April 03, 2014 - I am writing from Valdosta, GA. Could you please suggest three perennial shrubs and/or plants that flower at different times of the spring and summer? Also ones that can be planted in a 2 ft. wide s...
view the full question and answer

Poison Ivy in Semi-wetland Massachusetts
June 27, 2013 - You answered this question for Tennessee, but I would like an answer for a Massachusetts semi-wetlands area: What can I plant to discourage poison ivy, or at least make it very clear that it is poison...
view the full question and answer

Cake decorations with flowers
February 25, 2009 - Can I decorate a cake with bluebonnets, lavender or mountain laurel blooms?
view the full question and answer

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