Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

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
1 rating

Tuesday - November 06, 2012

From: Salina, KS
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Poisonous Plants, Vines
Title: Plant with dark black/purple berries in a cluster
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Today at our local dog park we noticed a bush/vine that's been growing up the fence is producing berries. It didn't flower at all. The berries look to have started out green and now are changing to a dark almost black/purple. They are in a small cluster of about 7-10 together. I popped one and inside is a big seed and a bright green liquid. The stem is a little fuzzy. The leaves are very soft and silky but not shiny. The leaves are also slightly pointed at the end. Can take a picture if this will help. Just let me know. We'd like to know what it is and if it's poisonous if the dogs should the eat any. Please answer back and thank you.

ANSWER:

Below are five suggestions of vines native to Kansas for the identification of your plant.  Only the first is reported to be toxic.  Hopefully, what you found is one of the non-toxic plants so that you don't have to worry about your dog eating the fruits.

The fruits of Menispermum canadense (Common moonseed) are reportedly highly toxic according to the Poisonous Plants of North Carolina.  Here are more photos and information from the Herbarium at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

There are two species of Smilax:

Smilax herbacea (Smooth carrionflower) and here are more photos and information from the Plant Diversity Website at the University of Michigan.

Smilax lasioneura (Blue ridge carrionflower) and here are more photos and information from the Plant Diversity Website at the University of Michigan and from the Freckman Herbarium at the University of Wisconsin.

Smilax herbacea is on the "Plants Non-Toxic to Dogs" list on the ASPCA Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List -  DogsSmilax lasioneura is not on either the "Plants Toxic..." or "Plants Non-Toxic..." lists.

There are two grape species:

Vitis riparia (Riverbank grape) and here are more photos and information from the Herbarium at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. 

Vitis vulpina (Frost grape) and here are more photos and information from Duke University.

Neither of the Vitis species occurs on any toxic plant list that I could find.

If none of these are the vine you saw, please visit the Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants for identification.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Common moonseed
Menispermum canadense

Smooth carrionflower
Smilax herbacea

Smooth carrionflower
Smilax herbacea

Blue ridge carrionflower
Smilax lasioneura

Blue ridge carrionflower
Smilax lasioneura

Riverbank grape
Vitis riparia

Frost grape
Vitis vulpina

More Vines Questions

Which Aristolochia species are toxic to pipevine swallowtail larvae
May 27, 2009 - In a May 30, 2008 question regarding the toxicity of certain Aristolochia species to pipevine swallowtail larvae, I had heard the same from at a talk from the curator of the Cockrell Butterfly Center ...
view the full question and answer

Is Convolvulus equitans poisonous?
August 22, 2015 - Hello, Can you tell me if convolvulus equitans is poisonous? If so, can you tell me how poisonous and which parts are poisonous? I am considering putting this in my backyard but I have a dog and an...
view the full question and answer

Opinion of 5 best native garden plants in Oklahoma from Burneyville OK
September 07, 2013 - What would you say are the 3 to 5 BEST native garden plants for south central Oklahoma?
view the full question and answer

Vine for yard with morning sun in California
May 24, 2014 - Hi, What is a good perennial vine to grow on the front of our house? We would like a fragrant flower too. It will be on a wood support beam, helping cover some pipes we have there. It will be an e...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification--vine with spiny pods in California
July 05, 2010 - I came across a vine while hiking in Orange County, CA. It didn't have flowers on it but has 3 or 4 inch spiny pods. What is it? The vine itself looks similar to a Morning Glory vine.
view the full question and answer

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