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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Sunday - March 28, 2010

From: Cumberland, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Found thorny bush in woods near my home that I need to identify. It is a tall shrub (approx. 10 feet) that has very large thorns on its green branches. I don't see any flowers yet. It doesn't appear to lose its leaves (groups of 3 leaves together) over the winter. I never noticed this bush before this Spring, although it has been there due to it's size. The thorns on this plant are approx. 1-2 inches long and cover the entire plant. Any ideas what this might be? I've never seen anything like it. Please help to identify!

ANSWER:

This sounds a lot like Poncirus trifoliata, trifoliate orange, a native of China and Korea.  It is considered an invasive plant in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast US.  Here are more photos and information from Henderson State University in Arkansas.

If this isn't the plant you described, please take photos and send them to us—we will do our very best to identify it. To read the instructions for submitting photos, please visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page.

 

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