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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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Wednesday - January 19, 2011

From: New Braunfels, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Plant identification of vine with hard brown bulb-shaped fruit
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I was given a brown hard bulb-looking ball with rough tiny dots on it and told it comes from a vine that changes to beautiful colors and these balls hang off the vine. A lady in Houston grows them and gave some to a friend who then gave some to me. There are no flowers. It is about the size of a kiwi fruit but hard and rounder. I couldn't find anything like it described in plant identification.

ANSWER:

Our focus and expertise here at the Wildflower Center are with plants that are native to North America and the vine that you describe does not sound like any vine native to Texas or North America that we know.  You can see for yourself a list (most with photos) of vines that are native to Texas by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database and choosing 'Texas' under Select State or Province and 'Vine' under Habit (general appearance).  If you have, or can take, a photo of the fruit that you describe, you might submit to one or more of the identification forums listed on our Plant Identification page.  Someone on one of the forums might be able to identify it for you.

 

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