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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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
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Thursday - August 07, 2014

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

QUESTION:

there is a plant in our yard...I believe it to be in the seed phase..it has 3 or 5 pointed leaves topped with a green fuzzy ball then another set of leaves and a green fuzzy ball..this is continued all the walk up the stock...I have a picture I can send..at first I thought it was a foxglove seed pod but its not slick like they are..please help

ANSWER:

Since it showed up in your yard it probably isn't a native plant but a non-native cultivar whose seed came from someone else's garden.  Since our focus and expertise are with plants native to North America we are not going to be much help with non-natives.   Nevertheless, I will suggest a few native plants in the Family Lamiaceae (Mint Family) which have similarities to your description.  You need to realize that the photos we have usually show the plants in full bloom.   I've tried to find photos of flowers that are past their prime so that they might look like the plant you describe.

Hyptis alata (Clustered bushmint)  Here is a photo from SpaceCoastWildflowers (you will need to scroll down the page to find the photo).

Monarda citriodora (Lemon beebalm)  Here is a photo of a slightly more mature plant.

Monarda clinopodioides (Basil beebalm)  Here is an illustration from PlantsIllustration.org.

Monarda punctata (Spotted beebalm)  Here is a photo from Earth Tones Native.

If none of these is your plant and you say you have photo, please go to our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


Clustered bushmint
Hyptis alata

Lemon beebalm
Monarda citriodora

Basil beebalm
Monarda clinopodioides

Spotted beebalm
Monarda punctata

Spotted beebalm
Monarda punctata ssp. punctata var. lasiodonta

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