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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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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!

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Friday - March 28, 2014

From: Benjamin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs, Wildflowers
Title: What is the name of the Texas Wildflower that smells like grape koolaid?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Can you tell me the name of the Texas wildflower that smells like grape koolaid? I live in north west Texas and every spring, the low growing purple flowers line spots along the roadside. It's a joy to roll down the windows and smell the sweet aroma!

ANSWER:

When Mr. Smarty Plants hears of a plant that smells like grape Kool aid, his first thought is Texas Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) . The Mountain Laurel grows as a tree or shrub, so it doesn’t sound like the plant you are smelling.  Also, the USDA Plants Profile indicates that it doesn’t occur in Knox County.

This link to Pinterist has a list of at least a dozen.grape scented plants (I didn't realize there were that many). Based on your description, eg low growing along the roadside, I think, from that group of plants, Slimpod milk-vetch might be a possible choice. Astragulus leptocarpus does not occur in Knox County, but there are other species of Astragalus  that do occur in the area.

    Astragulus racemosus 

   Astragalus lindheimeri 

   Astragalus nutallianus

For some help closer to home, you might contact your nearest chapter of the  Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT) which is located in Graham, Tx. Someone in that group should be able to tell you the name of your fragrant plant.

 

From the Image Gallery


Cream milkvetch
Astragalus racemosus

Lindheimer's milkvetch
Astragalus lindheimeri

Nuttall's milkvetch
Astragalus nuttallianus

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