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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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Friday - May 25, 2007

From: Balch Springs, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Reason for small winecup flowers (Callirhoe sp.)
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I purchased some winecup seeds from a wildflower seed company and planted them this past autumn. I live in the northcentral Texas area. This spring, several of the seeds sprouted but they had tiny lavendar flowers instead of the rich magenta colored blooms I see growing all along the roadsides. I have checked the foliage to make sure that they are winecups and it appears to be the exact same as the wild winecup I see on roadsides. Why do mine have tiny flowers?

ANSWER:

If your winecup is an annual species - probably Callirhoe leiocarpa - then what you describe would be strange, indeed. On the other hand, if your winecup is a perennial species, as most Texas species are, and they just sprouted this spring, then it is very likely they simply are not mature enough to make large flowers. There are a couple of winecup species that make lavendar-colored flowers including Plains Poppy-mallow, Callirhoe alcaeoides and White Winecup (which in spite of its common name is typically lavender/white variegated), Callirhoe involucrata var. lineariloba. Finally, it is possible that you have misidentified your plant, and it is another species altogether. We sometimes find surprises when we sow wild seed mixes.

 


Callirhoe leiocarpa

Callirhoe alcaeoides

Callirhoe involucrata var. lineariloba
 

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