En EspaŅol

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?


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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - April 04, 2014

From: Burton, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Vine with wine-colored flowers in Washington County, TX
Answered by: Joe Marcus


I'm trying to identify a deep purple wine colored flowering vine in Washington County, Texas. It looks very similar to Texas wisteria, but it is something else. I've seen them growing in vineyards at the ends of rows of the grape plants.


It is usually very difficult to identify plants based on short, written descriptions.  This identification is no exception.  A couple of native possibilities that come to mind are Wisteria frutescens and Clematis pitcheri.  

If neither of these species are your mystery plant, you might try doing a combination search in the NPIN Plants Database.  Select Texas in the "Select State or Province" box and select Vine in the "Habit (general appearance)" box.  Then click on the "Submit combination Search" button.  The search will yield about 162 possibilities, but you can scroll through them fairly quickly and perhaps find the ID you seek.

If you don't find the plant you're looking for there, your mystery plant is likely a non-native species.  In that case, we recommend sending a plant ID request to the UBC Forums for potential identification.


From the Image Gallery

American wisteria
Wisteria frutescens

Purple clematis
Clematis pitcheri

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant Identification
June 03, 2009 - We have a new vine growing on our fence. It eventually gets red balls (about 1" in dia) that are filled with small white seeds. Before the balls turn red, they are covered with a fine, thin fern (f...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a shrub in San Marcos, TX
May 20, 2013 - On a walk in Austin's Barton Creek greenbelt, a Treefolks volunteer identified a shrub that I also have on my property in San Marcos as blue candalia. However I can't find a plant by that name via w...
view the full question and answer

Identification of old plant called pinks
February 28, 2008 - For years my mother had a pretty pink flower in her yard. It was in a little cluster of green leaf like bush. She just called them pinks. They would close in the sun and open in the morning or afte...
view the full question and answer

Looking for rattlesnake flower
April 22, 2008 - I taught school for many years. The students and I identified wildflowers. I had one I call Rattlesnake Flower. It was small and had a little blue flower. On the leaves were little seed cases that...
view the full question and answer

Differences between Ratibida columnifera and Ratibida peduncularis
June 03, 2010 - How do you tell the difference between Ratibida columnifera and Ratibida peduncularis. On NPIN columnifera has red and penduncularis is solid yellow, but I have seen pictures listed as columnifera tha...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center