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

Tuesday - May 24, 2011

From: Thorndale, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Identification of thorny shrub with blue berries
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Thorny shrub with blue berries. In our acid sandy loam we have many thorn bushes. This one has small leaves like a wild pomegranate, long thorns. berries of the size and color of blueberries and is very invasive and hard to get rid of. What is this rascal?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants' best guess is that you have Sideroxylon lanuginosum (Gum bumelia) shrubs.  The gum bumelia has long sharp thorns and produces blue berries.  Its leaves do somewhat resemble those of Punica granatum (pomegranate). It can grow to be more than 40 feet high but doesn't reach that height very quickly.  It can form loose thickets of shrubs that are hard to remove because of the long thorns.  Here are photos that show the long thorns and more photos showing the blue berry.

Here are a few photos from our Image Gallery:


Sideroxylon lanuginosum


Sideroxylon lanuginosum


Sideroxylon lanuginosum


Sideroxylon lanuginosum

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Plants for farm animals from East Greenwich RI
May 03, 2014 - What type of perennial flowers and shrubs are safe to plant around farm animals (dogs, horses, chickens, turkeys) in New England climate?
view the full question and answer

Small native evergreen shrubs for North Carolina
May 17, 2007 - I live in zone 7 and need miniature shrub to go in flower bed situated in full sun. I love gardenias but afraid the intensity of the sun might be too much.
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Cleyera and Red-tip photinia
June 01, 2008 - I planted a row of Cleyera in a bed that receives sunlight for about 3 hours during the middle of the day. My problem is that a number of the plants are dying. It begins with the leaves on one small...
view the full question and answer

Carolina allspice (Calycanthus floridus) in Jasper TX
October 27, 2011 - Carolina allspice (calycanthus floridus) grows in my yard in East Texas. It is native to the eastern U.S., but I notice there is a variety whose distribution extends through Louisiana. Since I live in...
view the full question and answer

Late winter pruning of native Texas Sage
January 27, 2005 - I have several Texas Sage bushes that have started to get very woody and have growth only on the top. This seems to have led to a definite listing to one side. Should I trim these to the ground or...
view the full question and answer

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