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
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

Evergreen vine for trellis in Fredricksburg, Texas
March 27, 2011 - Hello, and thank you so much for this service. I am looking for a non-deciduous vine to plant on the east side of my house. I have already put in a trellis, now I need to know what to plant on it. ...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting trumpet creeper in Prairie City, IA
August 22, 2011 - I have a Trumpet Creeper that I would like to transplant. How do you do that?
view the full question and answer

Non-invasive, native vines for flood wall in San Jose CA
April 12, 2010 - I was hoping you could help me with some information on vine selection. I am interested in selecting three vines for a flood wall application. Non-native species are acceptable, so long as they’re no...
view the full question and answer

Safe to plant Wisteria frutescens near a foundation?
July 01, 2015 - I am interested in planting a Wisteria frutescens 'Nivea'. It will be next to a house foundation wall. Could you tell me what type of root system it has? Would it be a root that would dama...
view the full question and answer

Climbing vines for partial shade in North Texas
June 12, 2014 - I've read your recommendations for climbing vines in partial-shade, but requestor was from Central Texas (Austin-area). Would those recommendations hold true for North Texas (DFW area)?
view the full question and answer

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