Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Wednesday - May 14, 2014

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Trees
Title: Identification of tree with round purple leaves
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What is tne name of the purple leaf tree whose leaves are spherical? Maybe 1 to 2" in diameter? A neighbor who has moved now, had one but cut it down before i could find out or rescue it. It wasnt large (maybe 10 ft?) and grew in the shade in Houston. Definitely a tree, not a bush.

ANSWER:

By spherical I assume you mean that the leaves are round, not globe-shaped.  As far as I know there aren't any native trees with round purple leaves.  There are cultivated plants that have purple leaves.  Our focus and expertise here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center are with plants native to North America.  Cultivated plants generally have been imported from elsewhere so we will have to refer you to other sources to search for your tree other than searching in our Native Plant Database that countains only North American natives.

Here are some of the popular cultivated plants with purple leaves from (Trees and Shrubs with Purple Leaves from About.com) and more trees and shrubs with purple leaves from BlueBell Arboretum & Nursery.  Some possibilities are Fagus sylvatica 'Purpurea', Prunus cerasifera 'Thundercloud' and Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple'.  If none of these suggestions look like the tree that you saw, you might consider contacting the Harris County AgriLife Extension Agent or going to a large commercial nursery to ask if they know of a tree that meets your description.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
October 01, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Ever since we received this (much needed and wonderful) rain in Austin, my gardens and yard are being swamped with these tiny, green clover-like plants. I've never seen it ...
view the full question and answer

Bulbs named exotica
September 01, 2008 - When I purchased some seed from a catalog I received some free bulbs called exotica which I planted.They have long green stems. I don't know what they are or what to do with them. Can I plant them ou...
view the full question and answer

Identification of all-white small plants growing in the woods in Belmont, MA.
July 21, 2009 - I have just seen a group of completely ALL-WHITE small plants growing in the woods. They have 4-8in. stalks with a kind of bell-shaped flower growing at the top. There is no green anywhere on this pla...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
August 07, 2015 - I live in southeastern Michigan. I found a plant growing in the backyard that caught my eye. I chalked it off as a weed, but it's unique. It is shaped like a bushing type plant, has red stem, each cl...
view the full question and answer

Plant identfication
December 06, 2009 - I found a shrub I like because of the black fruit that birds like to eat but I don't know what it is. It looks similar to a blackhaw but the edges of the leaves are smooth not jagged. The fruit is a...
view the full question and answer

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