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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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Thursday - September 01, 2011

From: Norfolk, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification, Vines
Title: Plant identification of vine in Virginia
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Have vine that has small 3 pointed leaves somewhat like a grape but only an inch or 2 long. Adult fruit is black or purple egg shaped and only 3/4 of an inch long. Fruit is single in the middle of the vine not bunched like a grape. Also has small yellow flowers.

ANSWER:

The description of your plant sounds like Melothria pendula (Guadeloupe cucumber).  The fruit turns black as it becomes mature and is mildly toxic.  Here is another description of the plant from Wildflowers of the Southeastern U. S.  and lots more photos from Southeastern Flora.

If this doesn't sound like your plant and you have photos of it, you might want to visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that accept photos for identification.

You can also search for Virginia native vines yourself in our Native Plant Database.  Under COMBINATION SEARCH select 'Virginia' under Select State or Province and 'Vine' under Habit (general appearance).  You can also make selections under other categories if they are appropriate.

 

From the Image Gallery


Guadeloupe cucumber
Melothria pendula

Guadeloupe cucumber
Melothria pendula

Guadeloupe cucumber
Melothria pendula

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