Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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?


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 - March 15, 2016

From: Comanche, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Native vine for fence on youth baseball field
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Our community in Comanche, Texas would like to plant a native vine on the back fence of a youth baseball field. We have plans to plant an area of native grasses behind the fence, between the fence and a hiking path. We need a vine that is safe to use around children and wildlife. Can you help? Thanks!


The two vines below are the native vines that the USDA Plants Database show growing in Comanche County that would be good candidates for your fence.  Neither are known to have toxic properties.  They do not appear on any of the poisonous plants databases that I investigated.

Cocculus carolinus (Carolina snailseed) is a strong grower with male and female flowers on different plants.  Female plants have red berries if a male plant is nearby to furnish the pollen.  The seeds within the berries have an interesting shape and are the reason for the "Cocculus" part of the plant's scientific name and for its common name of "snailseed".  Here is more information from Texas A&M Horticulture.

Convolvulus equitans (Bindweed) is described as a non-agressive climber and here is more information from Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center at Uvalde and from Backyard Nature.  This vine tends to stay on the ground twining around smaller plants but wcan climb up fences.

You might consider using a combination of these two vines.


From the Image Gallery

Carolina snailseed
Cocculus carolinus

Carolina snailseed
Cocculus carolinus

Carolina snailseed
Cocculus carolinus

Texas bindweed
Convolvulus equitans

Texas bindweed
Convolvulus equitans

More Vines Questions

Tip Dieback on Lonicera sempervirens
August 14, 2013 - I have a Lonicera sempervirens (coral honeysuckle) vine in Virginia which does well early in the season, but then around July, the very tips of its shoots (just the last 1-2 inches) wither, turn black...
view the full question and answer

Vine like blackberry with 3 leaves & thorns in Florida
July 08, 2009 - What vine looks like a blackberry vine but has three leaves and thorns?
view the full question and answer

Information about mustang grapes
March 14, 2016 - We live in the Driftwood area. There is a native vine that looks like Mustang grape but never produces. A friend who is native to this area called it rat vine. I miss my Mustang grape jelly. Is t...
view the full question and answer

Bignonia capreolata with brown leaves in Pennsylvania
April 24, 2009 - 3 year old crossvine leaves brown and dead looking. Will it come back and bud out? Crossvine on fence southern exposure. Crossvine on fence in another area has leaves and are dark green/purple - sa...
view the full question and answer

Need a vine to cover a 8' cinder block wall in Fullerton, CA.
August 23, 2010 - Hi- I have a 8' cinder block wall that gets full sun, and need to find either a flowering shrub that would cover, or a vine that wouldn't be to hard to manage, or would not need to use a trellis....
view the full question and answer

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