En Español

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
13 ratings

Thursday - May 17, 2007

From: Louisville, KY
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of a flower with grape kool aid fragrance
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

While I lived in Texas someone gave me a flower from a "tree" (i am not sure tree is the right word). It was a large white flower that closed up in the evenings and smelled sweet like grape kool aid. I am pretty sure that the insides were either yellow or purpleish. I think it might have had the name star in it but I am not sure. I know this isn't a lot of information. Thanks!

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is very familiar with the grape Kool-Aid smell of Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) but the flowers don't match your description.

The three native Texas magnolias have large white flowers and are very fragrant. They are: Magnolia grandiflora (southern magnolia), Magnolia pyramidata (pyramid magnolia), and Magnolia virginiana (sweetbay).

There are three hibiscus plants native to Texas with large white flowers, but they lack the fragrance you describe. They are: Hibiscus laevis (halberdleaf rosemallow), Hibiscus lasiocarpos (rosemallow), and Hibiscus moscheutos (crimsoneyed rosemallow).

Another Texas native with largish white flowers, but no fragrance is Chilopsis linearis (desert willow).

Another fragrant large white flower, Gardenia taitensis (Tahitian gardenia), is native to Hawaii, but not native to Texas.

It could be that you were given the large white flowers from a plant that isn't native to Texas, but that thrives here. However, if it isn't one the native ones mentioned here, I'm afraid you have stumped Mr. Smarty Plants.


Sophora secundiflora

Magnolia grandiflora

Hibiscus laevis

Chilopsis linearis

Gardenia taitensis

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
April 06, 2010 - In spot in the garden where tomatoes grew last this year, previous to planting what looks to me like a shamrock plant came up until it bloomed. Now it looks like some of the fuschia plants only the le...
view the full question and answer

Identification of willow-like tree
April 22, 2012 - Hi. My daughter is trying to identify a native tree that is like a "scrub" tree here in pastures in Austin, Texas (for a school project). It sort of looks like weeping willow, but most aren't very ...
view the full question and answer

A stinging plant in Moultrie, GA?
April 28, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I was walking along in my lawn in some flip-flops and my foot barely grazed my ankle. As soon as it had happened, I felt this horrible pain, like a million tiny, invisible splinter...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
November 09, 2008 - I recently found a GIANT green seed pod around my small town in Northern Virginia. It's about 1 ft. 3 in. in diameter (15 in.) and its making me very curious as to what exactly it is. For the life of...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
July 21, 2012 - Can't i.d a small aroid, arisaema(?) sp.; 5" tall. tuber 12" tall by 1" beginning 8" beneath the soil level. flowers are black spathes with white spots. leaves are alternate. common plant but d...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center