Contact Us Host an Event 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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - July 05, 2010

From: Villa Park, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Identification, Vines
Title: Plant identification--vine with spiny pods in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I came across a vine while hiking in Orange County, CA. It didn't have flowers on it but has 3 or 4 inch spiny pods. What is it? The vine itself looks similar to a Morning Glory vine.

ANSWER:

Here are three native vines that are possibilities:

Marah fabaceus (California manroot) and here are more photos showing the spiny fruit.

Marah oreganus (coastal manroot) and here are photos showing the spiny fruit.

Funastrum cynanchoides ssp. heterophyllum (Hartweg's twinevine) and here are photos.

Here is one invasive European native that is also a possibilitiy:

Cynanchum louiseae (Black dog-strangling vine, black swallowwart) and you see its distribution in California on the USDA Plants Database map.

If none of these is the vine that you saw and you have photos or can take photos of it, please send them to us and we will do our best to identify it.  Visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page for instructions on submitting photos.



 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identfication
August 16, 2009 - We live in a forested area in Rockmart,GA. There is a creek in the woods and a lily type plant that only flowers occasionally. It is white in the center and has thin white spires that jut out from t...
view the full question and answer

Identity of recently purchased plant from Somerset MA
March 29, 2011 - I just bought a plant at Home Depot but it came with no tag. It has fairly large greyish green paddle shaped leaves, the leave stalks are pretty thick. Can you tell me what kind of plant do I have? I ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of small mint-like plant in Virginia
May 19, 2013 - I am looking for a mint plant my mother use to have but we didn't plant. It grew in Earlysville, Virginia in red clay soil. The cat loved it but it was neither catnip nor catmint. It was under six in...
view the full question and answer

Identification of shrub/small tree with small purple fruit
July 31, 2013 - Hi! I have a tree/bush that has come up on its own in the backyard. This year it set what looks like small purple plums. Is there any chance that they might be poisonous?
view the full question and answer

Sending a picture of an oak from Yorktown TX
December 02, 2011 - How I can I send a pic of my oak in Yorktown near Cuero?
view the full question and answer

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