Rent Shop 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

Monday - June 16, 2008

From: Columbiana, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Vines
Title: Identifying vine in Alabama
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a vine growing on my fence and I need help identifying it. The leaves are a large and medium green oval shaped and along the vine there are clusters of tiny(really tiny) flowers.They are a pale green star shaped with a dark blue center. Can you help me?

ANSWER:

First, the good news, it's not kudzu. The bad news is that we honestly can't figure out what it is. We went to our Native Plant Database, and searched on Alabama and vine (Habit). This gave us 74 possibilities, so we passed on that, and tried searching on Alabama, vine, and blue or green for bloom color. This gave us 25 choices. Of these, some had the right flower, but the wrong leaf shape, etc. but three that were at least possibilities.

Cocculus carolinus (Carolina coralbead)

Galium aparine (stickywilly)

Smilax herbacea (smooth carrionflower) - this one came closest to your description, but if that is what it is, it's a Smilax, a rather invasive, thorny vine, and the flowers smell terrible in order to attract flies, the pollinator for this plant. Get rid of it.

If it is none of the above, and/or you can't find it by doing the long search that we tried first, look on the Mr. Smarty Plants page and, under Plant Identification in the lower right hand portion of the page, you'll find instructions for sending us a picture. We'll get some of our plant id experts to take a look at it. It could be a non-native, of course, not in our Native Plant Database, and you certainly want to establish whether or not it's invasive before you encourage it to grow on your fence.


Cocculus carolinus

Galium aparine

Smilax herbacea

 

 

 

More Vines Questions

Smarty Plants on hyacinth bean vine
July 01, 2005 - I'm looking for what I believe is a wild vine. All i know is that it has purplish colored beans and the flowers are also purple. Also the vine itself is purplish. i believe that the vine is either fro...
view the full question and answer

Differentiating between Cow-itch vine and Balsam-gourd vine
July 08, 2005 - How can I tell the difference between Cow-itch vine and Balsam-gourd vine?
view the full question and answer

Wisteria and Non-Poisonous Native Vines
February 15, 2012 - I'm from central Texas and I'm wanting to plant a native vine that will work well around the public, mainly kids. It's a mostly sunny trellis that makes an arch. I'd like to plant the native Wiste...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen vine for New York
May 27, 2008 - I live on long island. I live on a corner piece of property and we have a 4 foot picket fence. We have some deciduous bushes planted along the fence, but would like a little more privacy because we ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen vine for San Diego, California
July 11, 2010 - I am looking for an evergreen (San Diego) vine to grow on a newly constructed trellis. Its 12' tall by 8' wide and is on the North side of the house. That area seems to only get sun June and July ...
view the full question and answer

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