Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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 - October 02, 2012

From: Molino , FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification, Trees
Title: Identity of tree with pumpkin-like fruit in Florida
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello. I live in a small town called Molino FL. I was walking on the side of our road and found a tree with pumpkin type fruit on the limbs. I have been trying to figure this tree out for about 3 months. It has had fruit on it for 3 months, also. The fruit is green with a light orange color and the size is 2"1/2 inch wide by 2" high. The leaves are large heart-shaped and dark green in color. The leaves are 9" long by 7"1/2 wide. I can send pictures if you would like. THANK YOU.

ANSWER:

Your description sounds like Thespesia populnea (Portia tree or Seaside mahoe).  It is found in tropical coastal areas around the world but considered native to the Old World and is considered by some people to be native to Hawaii.  Here are more photos and information from Hawaiian Plants and Tropical Flowers and photos of the fruit from Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.  It is categorized as a Category I invasive plant by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council.

If this isn't the plant that you have seen, please visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants for identification.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Mystery berries on vine in Montgomery County, TX
August 09, 2013 - While out in the woods today on Caney Creek near Grangerland, Texas, I found what I thought to be some grapes on a vine hanging down from a tree. I brought the vine down, but when I got it home to pr...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a plant with winged stems in Texas
July 08, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, We live in Denton Texas & our backyard is being taken over by a very woody type weed or bush. The most distinguishing characteristic is that long thin vertical ridges or fins...
view the full question and answer

Looking for pink star grass (Rhodohypoxis milloides)
June 23, 2008 - I am looking for a wildflower/plant called Pink Star Grass (common name). I am not sure what the proper name is. Can you help me with this? I would like information on it, and also would like to pu...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
April 01, 2009 - I have small shiny red berries growing on a tropical appearing shrub with green and marled yellow leaves. The leaves have widely serrated edges. The berries have a large seed inside and very little fl...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
August 22, 2011 - I have a rather large berry growing on a tree-like bush in my back yard here in Williamsville Vermont, I've never seen anything like it! I have a picture.
view the full question and answer

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