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
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

Identity of fast growing vine in San Francisco
March 20, 2016 - Really need to know what kind of vine is growing rapidly in the garden. Can't find out in plant identification: started to grow profusely after rainfall. Grows at rate of 6-8" per day (!). Has ivy-l...
view the full question and answer

Identification of pink flower near Austin
April 10, 2008 - My mother found a flower early this spring at Chrystal Falls park just outside of Austin. It was between red and salmon pink in color, tubular in shape and about 4 inches long. It smells very bad, a...
view the full question and answer

Mystery plant in hay fields in Tennessee
July 13, 2008 - I found plants growing in my hay fields that are about 4 feet tall, large leaves and blooms (ball shaped) bell flowers.That is, the blooms looks like a pom pom with about 50 to 80 small flowers "hang...
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant at funeral that smells similar to honeysuckle
April 04, 2013 - What plant or flower smells similar to honeysuckle? I live in Ohio and I smelled some kind of flower or plant at a friends funeral last spring that smelled similar to honeysuckle. It was...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID from Boise ID
July 18, 2012 - I have a plant growing in my bed which resembles a dandelion.. the problem is that it is really tall. Would you be able to take a look at a picture to identify it?
view the full question and answer

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