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
2 ratings

Saturday - April 17, 2010

From: Hext, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Identification of large egg-like objects on vines in Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

This past weekend we were at our deer lease in Hext,TX. My children and I went exploring along the banks of the San Saba river and found what we originally thought were some type of turtle or turkey egg. But then we found of of these large egg looking things attached to a vine and I assume they are instead some type of plant, but we aren't sure what. The "eggs" are very large and can not be confused with hen eggs (or the Easter egg plant). The outside shell white/mottled with brown and is extremely durable. We had to literally get a rock and bust it against the egg to see what was inside. On the inside we saw what looked like a yellow, dried spongey material and in the center of that, it looked like some sort of shriveled seeds. We are very curious as to what it is that we have found. Could you please help us figure it out??

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants thinks that perhaps this is the fruit/gourd of Cucurbita foetidissima (buffalo gourd).  They are certainly large enough (about 3-4 inches in diameter) and would be dry and hard at the time of year that you found them.

Alternatively, they could be a plant gall.  They can be caused by insects, mites, nematodes, fungi and bacteria.  You can see photographs of various galls caused by insects on the Bug Guide.  You don't say what kind of vine you found the growth on or if it's on the ground or growing up a tree, but crown gall is caused by a bacterium, Agrobacterium tumefaciens, and often infects grape vines.

If we haven't identified your mystery 'eggs' and you happen to have photos of them, please send them to us and we will do our very best to identify them.  Visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page to read instructions for submitting photos.

Here are a few photos from our Image Gallery of the fruits of buffalo gourd:


Cucurbita foetidissima

Cucurbita foetidissima

Cucurbita foetidissima

Cucurbita foetidissima

 

 

More Vines Questions

Looking for a supplier for Mustang Grape vine in Austin, TX>
April 02, 2012 - I'm looking for a supplier in Austin that will have a Mustang Grape Vine seed or plant for purchase. I found Natives of Texas in Kerrville, but if you know of a supplier in Austin, that would be pre...
view the full question and answer

Privacy Screening Plant for New York Narrow Site
April 20, 2013 - I need privacy screening on the side of my house in Mount Kisco, New York located 40 miles north of New York City. The area gets plenty of sun but is somewhat narrow. What evergreen bushes or trees ...
view the full question and answer

Growing non-native Cabernet Sauvignon vines in Central Texas
July 01, 2013 - Hi. I recently moved into a remodeled home in Taylor, TX, and have experimented with Cabernet Savignon vines before. I have a 1/2 acre and a chain-link fence I want to put vines on. (I have a book o...
view the full question and answer

Vine for Shady California Apartment Patio
October 01, 2015 - I have a smallish gazebo on my apartment patio. I'm looking for a delicate looking flowering vine to grow in shade in Southern California. Perennial would be wonderful but this is probably too much ...
view the full question and answer

Vine for a trellis in Illinois
June 21, 2008 - I live in Nortrhern Illinois and am trying to keep my garden as native as possible. I would like to grow something on a trellis in part sun. It looks like a regional clematis is a possibility, but d...
view the full question and answer

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