En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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

Was my grandmother growing a Honeysuckle Bush in Middleton, Idaho?
May 17, 2010 - I would like to know the name of the flowering bush that grew in the backyard of my grandmother's house in Middleton, Idaho. I remember it to be purple in color and had petals with what I used to ca...
view the full question and answer

Origin of thorned plant-like object falling from the sky
September 01, 2011 - This morning while walking I felt a prick on my arm, like something had bitten me. I looked and saw what appeared to be a very tiny little plant with a thorn on it sticking out of my arm. I pulled i...
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

Identificaation of volunteer plant in Maine
July 31, 2007 - I have a volunteer in my garden in Maine that I have been unable to identify. It is a perennial that grows in full sun. It has formed a thick mat of plants whose leaves are about and its leaves are d...
view the full question and answer

How Can I Tell an Invasive Thistle from a Native
May 01, 2012 - Mr Smarty Plants, I have some thistles coming up in my yard. I'd like to keep them if they are native, but not if they are invasive or non-native. How can I tell? My yard is a wild area in West Lak...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center