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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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Thursday - July 10, 2014

From: Three Rivers, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am trying to identify a wildflower that has popped up after a big rain. It is under a foot tall---blooms a yellow bloom in the evenings. It has long narrow leaves sort of like a rosemary. It grows from a tuber. I have not been able to find it on the website as of yet. Thanks.

ANSWER:

This sounds like a flower in the Lily Family.  To find likely suspects I first did a search for all the plants in the Family Liliaceae (Lily Family) in our Native Plant Database by scrolling down and selecting Family Liliaceae from the Family: slot near the top of the page and then clicking on the orange "go" button.  This brings up a list of over 300 plants in the Lily Family.  Next I used the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to choose Texas from the SELECT STATE OR PROVINCE area and then "yellow" from BLOOM COLOR.  Clicking on the "Narrow your search" slot near the bottom of the column gives a list of 23 plants.  Scrolling through the list I found the following five that sounded most like your description.

Cooperia jonesii [synonym=Zephyranthes jonesii] (Jones' rainlily)  Here is a description from eFloras, Flora of North America online and more information and photos from Gardenaway.

Cooperia smallii [synonym=Zephyranthes smalii] (Small's rainlily)  Here is a description from eFloras, Flora of North America online.  Here's more information from Gardenaway.

Habranthus tubispathus (Copper lily)  Here is a description from eFloras, Flora of North America online and here are more photos from the the JCRaulston Arboretum at North Carolina State University.

Hypoxis hirsuta (Common goldstar)  Here is a description from efloras, Flora of North America online and here is more information from Lake Forest College in Illinois.

Zephyranthes pulchella (Showy zephyrlily)  Here is a description of the species for eFloras, Flora of North America online.

If none of the above are the flower you describe, there are a few other yellow flowers on this list that could perhaps be your flower.  To see them, please do the search described above.

If you don't find your flower among these Family Liliaceae from Texas and you have a photo of it, please visit our Plant Identification page where you will find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


Jones' rainlily
Cooperia jonesii

Copper lily
Habranthus tubispathus

Jones' rainlily
Cooperia jonesii

Small's rainlily
Cooperia smallii

Copper lily
Habranthus tubispathus

Copper lily
Habranthus tubispathus

Copper lily
Habranthus tubispathus

Common goldstar
Hypoxis hirsuta

Common goldstar
Hypoxis hirsuta

Common goldstar
Hypoxis hirsuta

Showy zephyrlily
Zephyranthes pulchella

Showy zephyrlily
Zephyranthes pulchella

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