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?

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 14, 2008

From: Salem, NH
Region: Northeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a plant or weed that is a five leaf leave and it is greenish-red and shinny. I have been searching the internet and can't seem to find what it is. It is spread throughout my back yard and with small children I need to know what it is and what it can do if they come in contact with it. At first I thought it was poison sumac, however that only has 3 leaves. I think it's poisonous, because of the shinny leaves. Can you help me? Send me a picture and description of possible five leaf plants that my be poisonous. Thank you.

ANSWER:

The first plant that we thought of with five leaves is Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper), a vine whose leaves can be tinged with red even in the spring. The leaves themselves are not poisonous, but the berries it produces are. If this isn't the plant you have in your backyard, the simplest way for Mr. Smarty Plants to help you determine the identity of your plant is to send us digital photographs of it. Please visit the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page to find the instructions for submitting photographs under "Plant Identification". We will do our very best to identify your plant when we receive the photos.

 


Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant Identification
October 20, 2009 - I have encountered a plant (two growing side by side) in our wooded back yard. It came up on its own, is about two feet tall, has leaves resembling that of an Angel's trumpet, about 4-5" long, jagge...
view the full question and answer

Control of Smilax bona-nox (saw greenbrier)
June 15, 2007 - We have some property near Round Mountain, Texas. Under and in the oak trees is a vine that has a heart-shaped, shiny leaf and nasty thorns. I'd like to know the name and how best to try to get rid...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
May 07, 2008 - I have a plant growing in my yard that I would like to know what it is. It has two very different leaf types on the same plant. One set of leaves is thick and oval in shape, the others look very much ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification for plant near Lake Tahoe
June 07, 2012 - Looking to figure out what this plant is: grows along water ways, moist areas in Lake Tahoe. Looks tropical. Only seen small versions of it but it looks like miniature bamboo with a softer stem and br...
view the full question and answer

The most common wildflower in the United States
July 29, 2014 - What is the most common wildflower in the United States?
view the full question and answer

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