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

Identification of pink flower near Austin
April 10, 2008 - My mother found a flower early this spring at Chrystal Falls park just outside of Austin. It was between red and salmon pink in color, tubular in shape and about 4 inches long. It smells very bad, a...
view the full question and answer

Identity of a pink-flowering bush with flowers like sweet peas
June 29, 2012 - I have found a pink flowering small tree / bush that has picky branches kind of looks like sweet pea flowers and the leaves kind of look like shumac. Growing near the thick woods of northern MI
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of yellow daisy-like flowers blooming in Austin
October 25, 2010 - What is the name of the yellow daisy-like bush that is blooming now all over the Hill Country of Texas? The plant varies from 3 to 5 feet. The petals on the bloom vary from 8 to 10. The flowers are...
view the full question and answer

Identification of low growing plants with flowers that resemble a bunch of grapes in Graford, TX
February 10, 2011 - I am in northwest TX and I would like to know the name of the early blooming, very low growing plant that has a single bloom on a bare stem--it is dark crimson and the blooms looks like a bunch of gra...
view the full question and answer

Identification of bluebonnet-like flower
May 14, 2012 - I have discovered a plant that looks like a bluebonnet but is much larger. It has leggy stems and similar leaf structure and the bonnet in more compact with purple vs blue flowers. The plant is growin...
view the full question and answer

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