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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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Tuesday - October 04, 2011

From: Orange, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Identification, Vines
Title: Plant identification of a potted vine in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Hi, we have a tropical vine growing in a pot on our patio that my wife bought at the county fair. We've had it for a couple of years but I just noticed it now has a sort of pear like fruit on it. It is definitely a vine as it is climbing up one of the posts. The leaf is oval and V veined. The fruit is green now but I'm sure it has not yet matured. Thanks.


Generally, a plant growing in a pot indicates a cultivated non-native plant.  Since our focus and expertise here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center are with the study, conservation and promotion of plants native to North America, we aren't likely going to be able to identify a non-native cultivated plant.  Indeed, there isn't really enough detail in your description to suggest any particular vine that I can think of.  You can, however, search in our Native Plant Database for California native possibilities by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH and choosing "California" from the Select State or Province option and "Vine" from Habit (general appearance).  This will give you a list of almost 50 vines, most with photos, for you to see.   If none of these looks like your vine, then you can visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that accept photos for identification.   Be sure to read the "Important Notes" for submitting photos and also be sure that the photos you submit are in good focus.


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