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

Sunday - June 01, 2014

From: Elgin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Problem Plants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Giant Thistle-Like Plant from Elgin, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a giant thistle like plant in my field we have been unable to identify. It looks like a milk thistle but it is short..only about a foot tall..stocky...and the flowers are giant..about 6 to 8 inches accross. There are two to three blooms on each plant. It looks and seeds just like thistle. The flowers are usually white or purple...help. Thank you.

ANSWER:

We are sorry, that is not enough information for us to identify your plant, especially since there is always a good chance that it is non-native. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is committed to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but also to the area in which those plants are being grown; in your case, Bastrop or Travis County. However, it is more likely you are wondering if you should get rid of it. In most cases, the answer to that is YES! We have answered similar questions several times during the last few years, not to mention in the last few weeks, so apparently this is a bad year for them. We are going to refer you first to a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer also from Central Texas, which has more links to other information, including getting rid of the darn things.

In addition to those links, here is a link to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office for Smith County on Thistle Control. While Smith County is in East Texas, the information is still good. Also, click on this link to take you to Google images of Texas thistles, a LOT of them. If you see a picture there that looks like your thistle, click on the picture and you will get some information on what it is. You can take that scientific name and find it either on our Native Plant Database or the Internet. Doesn't really make a whole lot of difference, the techniques are all pretty much the same.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
June 01, 2010 - I have a grandchild that said the seed pod on a plant that looks like a clover is edible. It has clover like leaves and a little yellow flower. I did taste it and it kind of taste like a pickle. Th...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
September 20, 2014 - I was recently visiting Texas and kept seeing a particular plant in drainage bottoms and wetland areas (note these areas at the time of my visit were very dry). I was hoping you might be able to help...
view the full question and answer

Help identify a plant.
February 21, 2008 - Could you help me to identify this plant?
view the full question and answer

Tree with light-colored bark, thorns and long white clumps of flowers
August 18, 2015 - I bought a tree at the LBJWC plant sale a couple years ago but lost the name of the tree. I'm finally ready to plant it in the ground and would like to learn more about what its needs are. Can you ...
view the full question and answer

Trees with white blossoms in Crockett, Texas
March 21, 2015 - What are the trees that are blooming just East of Crockett Texas (off of Hwy 21) right now - fairly large trees - multitude of white blooms - almost like a wild plum or pear, but tree seems too large?...
view the full question and answer

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