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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

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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Monday - August 13, 2007

From: Crystal Lake, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of plant in Illinois
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I've found a plant that I cannot identify. The plant is is very short, 2 inches tall maybe, and has very fragile, thin leaves and stem. The leaves about 1" long, are pinnate, with about 20 leaflets on each leaf (shaped like the leaves of a honeylocust tree). The flower is bright yellow with a dark brownish throat. Looks sort of like a tiny violet or orchid. Found it growing in savannah area. Semi-shade/dappled light, on the edge of my mesic woodland. It's in bloom right now. Any thoughts on what it might be?


Mr. Smarty Plants loves to identify plants, but it is usually difficult (if not impossible) to do so from a description alone. If you could send us a photograph or two, we will do our very best to tell you the name of your plant. Here are the instructions on how to submit photographs:

1. Tell us where and when you found the plant and describe the site where it occurred.

2. Take several images including details of leaves, stems, flowers, fruit, and the overall plant.

3. Save images in JPEG format, not more than 640 x 480 pixels in size, with resolution set at 300 pixels per inch.

4. Send email with images attached to id@smartyplants.org. Put Plant Identification Request in the subject line of your email.

You can also read these instructions in the lower right corner of the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page.


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