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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - March 15, 2011

From: Santa Rosa, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I don't know where this plant is from! I hope you can still help! I was given a plant,about 8in tall,stem and limbs are yellow it doesn't grow leaves it just has thorns do you have any idea what it might be? Thanks for your help.

ANSWER:

This sounds like a plant in the Family Euphorbiaceae (Spurge Family) and, in particular, in the genus Euphorbia.  Many of the Euphorbias are succulents with spines but no leaves. However, your plant doesn't sound like any of the Euphorbias (or any other plant, for that matter) native to North America.  What we are all about here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is "to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes."  We can suggest some possibilities for finding the identity of your non-native plant, however.  DesertTropicals.com has a database showing many species of non-native Euphorbia. You can look through their photos and perhaps find your plant.  You can see more Euphorbia photos on the International Euphorbia Society webpage.

If you don't find your plant in either of these databases, visit our Plant Identification page to find several plant forums where you can upload photos and ask for help in identifying your plant.

By the way, if your plant doesn't have at least a greenish tinge or isn't parasitic on some other green plant, I'm afraid it isn't long for this world.  It needs to have chlorophyll or at least be connected to a plant with chlorophyll to produce energy to live.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Difference between Styrax platanifolius and Styrax patanifolius ssp. texanus
November 18, 2011 - What is the difference between a Styrax platanifolius and a Styrax platanifolius texanus?
view the full question and answer

Identification of daisy-like wildflower in New Mexico
August 19, 2011 - I recently visited Angel Fire, NM and I cannot identify the daisy-like wildflower that was growing there. August seemed to be the favorite time for this flower. I asked the local nursery and they th...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of a trillium in New Jersey
June 23, 2011 - I have several Trillium grown from one seed source. The plant looks like Trillium cuneatum, but unlike that plant, the stems of these plants -- which seed freely in my Northwest New Jersey garden -- l...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
September 12, 2009 - I am looking for the name of plant my Grandma used to own. She always referred to it as a spider plant. The green part of the plant looked very similar to a spider plant but growing around the base of...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant growing with purchased plant
September 23, 2013 - I purchased a heurchera and there was another plant that was growing in the pot with it. I planted both together in my garden. The "other" plant is growing and none of the gardeners around here has ...
view the full question and answer

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