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

American Bittersweet in east Texas
September 24, 2007 - Does American Bittersweet vine grow in east Texas? It grows wild in Indiana and want to find it in our new location, Longview, Texas
view the full question and answer

Vine for limited space, part-shade fence in N. Texas
June 14, 2009 - I have a narrow strip of yard (about 3ft) between my covered patio and privacy fence. Since the fence itself lacks visual interest, I'd like to find a vine to grow on the fence to give the backgroun...
view the full question and answer

Use of non-native pothos for outside wall from Las Vegas NV
January 05, 2014 - I am in Las Vegas, NV. I live in a cottage-style apartment so I have a north facing porch with no one on the west so I get some there (and have an inherited cactus probably a yard all round) I would ...
view the full question and answer

Rash from non-native potato vines
July 21, 2010 - Here in No. CA we have two potato vines that over the last 5-6 years have flourished gloriously. Just this year, we went to prune them (as we normally do once or twice a year), and both my husband an...
view the full question and answer

California Vine for Privacy Screening
November 06, 2014 - I have a two story house going up behind my back yard. I would like to plant a climbing vine with non-invasive roots to provide privacy. I live in Los Angeles and the trellis would receive almost full...
view the full question and answer

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