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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - June 16, 2008

From: Hillsdale, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of thorny plant in Michigan
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

i live in southern michigan and have a thorny plant with oval leaves growing in my flower beds. this used to be a grassy area how did it get there. i live on the edge of town. what plants in my area have thorns

ANSWER:

Here are some possibilities for your plant:

Laportea canadensis (wood nettle or Canada nettle). Here is another photo of the plant.

Rubus flagellaris (northern dewberry) and Rubus pensilvanicus (Pennsylvania blackberry)

Rosa palustris (swamp rose)

Smilax tamnoides (bristly greenbriar)

Solanum carolinense (Carolina horsenettle)

Solanum rostratum (buffalobur nightshade)

Xanthium strumarium (rough cockleburr)

If none of these happens to be it, please send us a photo and we will do our very best to identify it. Visit the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page for instructions on how to submit photos under "Plant Identification".

How did this plant get there? The most likely way is that its seed was deposited there by a bird or mammal who consumed the fruit somewhere else.


Rubus flagellaris

Rosa palustris

Solanum carolinense

Solanum rostratum

Xanthium strumarium

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
July 24, 2010 - Purchased foliage plant - no one knows its name. Leaves (stems) are bright green and 10" tall. Has "babies" like a spider plant but leaves (stems) are wider and thicker. Has a "rib" to them in...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
September 24, 2008 - I have a single stem red vine with purple berries growing on it. It is in a cluster of bushes and gets mostly morning and early afternoon sun. The berries also have small bumps at the stem. I have ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of night-blooming yellow flower
June 03, 2010 - My Nonna used to have a plant that was a night bloomer. It had leaves that looked like a dandelion, and bloomed a bright yellow flower at dusk. I have never seen anything like it although they were pl...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
November 01, 2007 - I am trying to identify a wild flowering plant. It grows in pastures near Rhome Texas. How can I email a digital photo to you to look at it??
view the full question and answer

Need to identify a strange plant in my flowerbed
March 05, 2010 - I have a strange plant that I've called a weed in my flowerbed. It doesn't have many leaves but it has round white almost bulbs at the surface of the dirt. The "bulbs" look almost like a small oni...
view the full question and answer

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