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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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Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
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Wednesday - November 02, 2011

From: Clarksville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a plant that I would like to identify. It is a tall shrub/woody vine? (approx. 8-10 feet) that has very large thorns on its branches and stems. The stems remain green during winter. It loses its leaves (groups of 3, 1 to 1 oval leaves together) over the winter. The thorns on this plant are approx. 1-2 inches long. The fruit is about 1 in diameter and looks like a small orange. It smells like citrus and is packed with seeds. Any ideas what this might be?

ANSWER:

This sounds like Poncirus trifoliata (Trifoliate orange).  It is a native of eastern Asia and considered invasive in many parts of the US.  Here are more photos and information.

If this is not your plant and you have photos, please visit our Plant Identification page where you will find links to several plant identification forums that accept photos for identification.

 

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