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
1 rating

Monday - August 20, 2007

From: Grand Blanc, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Identification of non-native wildflower
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am a painter and I need your help. When I was in Pecatonica, Illinois recently I saw a very beautiful blue colored wildflower. I was amazed by its beauty but didn't have a camera with me to take a photograph. Now I am searching for its picture to draw inspiration for my painting. Here is its description: Season: I found it in late May (around May 25th) this year Description: The flower is purple in color, has around 4-5 petals, in its middle there were very thin green leaves (they were not exactly leaves but thorn-like projections or I might call them tentacles). If you can identify which flower is this it would be of great help.

ANSWER:

Ordinarily, when someone asks us to identify a wildflower they have seen, we in turn ask them to send us a picture, as identification from a description is very difficult and not always accurate. However, as you said you had no opportunity to take a picture, perhaps we can help to jar your memory. In the Lady Bird Johnson National Wildflower Plant Database you will find a "Combination Search" screen. You only need to check the boxes on which you have information. For instance, you know it grows in Illinois, you know it blooms in May, and you know it's blue or purple (check both colors). Don't worry about the boxes for which you have no information. Click on "Submit Combination Search". When we did this with the characteristics you sent us, we got a screen with 127 possibilities. You can click on the scientific name on the list, and get a fuller description and picture of that plant. You can click on the picture and get a larger version. If one picture looks like a good possibility, go to our Image Gallery, type in the scientific name of the plant, and you will get all the images we have of that. In some cases, unfortunately, we have no image at all, but most plants we have at least one image. For instance, we chose Callirhoe digitata, also called Poppy mallow or Winecup, typed in the scientific name, clicked "Go" and got 9 images, in varying sizes and views, of that particular flower. We have no idea if that's the flower you saw, just using it for illustration of the process.

Best of luck-let us know if you find your inspirational flower.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Growing non-native aloe in Seguin TX
March 17, 2009 - I would love to grow aloe plants; both because I like the look of them and for their medicinal properties. Here in Texas people grow them both indoors and out. For some reason, I have not had any l...
view the full question and answer

Replacement of non-native red tip photinias in Midlothian VA
April 30, 2012 - I need to replace our long lived red tips. They are now diseased. I would like a fast growing bush that I can trim and make a hedge with. Any suggestions
view the full question and answer

Frost damage to non-native Mexican Maradol papaya from San Antonio
March 31, 2011 - I planted Mexican Maradol papaya in my San Antonio garden last year. The plants grew about 5' tall and were starting to flower. Then the winter freezes blasted them; now there's nothing left but stu...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant with orange sap that glows at night
June 06, 2012 - I was just pulling up a plant and noticed that its sap was a kind of orange then I noticed it glowing orange at night. What kind of plant is this and is it dangerous?
view the full question and answer

Will non-native Alchemilla mollis grow in Georgetown, TX
April 02, 2011 - While living in Connecticut I had a favorite plant -- Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla Mollis). Any chance I could grow it in my new herbaceous border in Sun City Texas (Georgetown, TX)?
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center