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

Identification of a plant that looks like a watermelon.
May 21, 2012 - A wild plant came up in my bed that looked like a watermelon plant. It had small yellow blooms and then marble balls formed with prickly thorns. The balls were in clusters. What kind of plant is i...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID from Beaumont TX
August 13, 2010 - I live in Beaumont Texas and have some trees on the land I hunt that look like a yaupon but put on a small blue berry that the deer devour in December. I have looked and searched the Internet but hav...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification in Florida
April 03, 2012 - Hello, I have a plant that I bought at a local nursery (now closed). It only came with a label that read "Sun". The plant has many long willowy stems coming up from the ground, green saw-notched lea...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID in Springfield OR
July 08, 2009 - I recently discovered a wildflower closely resembling the Oregon Lady Slipper, apparently a wild orchid, but with many blooms on a single long stem and with no apparent leaves. I'd like more informat...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant from Tennessee
June 06, 2011 - I was trying to find the identity of a plant my Grandmother grew around her house in West Tennessee. It was a nonflowering plant, about 12-24 in tall, had thornless leaves similar in shape to holly l...
view the full question and answer

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