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?


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

Saturday - September 29, 2007

From: Florence, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Frostweed under oaks
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Our 5 acre property is located about 12 miles West of Salado on FM 2843. Under our beautiful Live Oak trees reside some plants that are just coming into bloom (9/29/07). They are about 3-4 ft high with very large leaves. The blooms are clusters of small white flowers, ball-shaped. Just wondered what these plants are called.


Mr. Smarty Plants thinks this sounds like Verbesina virginica (frostweed or white crownbeard). Certainly, they are blooming all around the Austin area. The name frostweed (also, sometimes called ice plant) comes from the fact that at the first frost the sap freezes and bursts out of the stem forming a beautiful icy Christmas-candy like structure around the stem. Keep your eyes on these plants this winter and be sure you check them out at the first freezing temperatures.

If this isn't what you are seeing, you can send us a photo and Mr. SP will do his best to identify your plant. Please see instructions for submitting photos on the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page in the lower right corner under "Plant Identification".

Verbesina virginica

Verbesina virginica

Verbesina virginica

Verbesina virginica



More Wildflowers Questions

Greenhouse bluebonnets for July wedding from Denver CO
August 19, 2013 - Would it possible for my daughter's florist to get bluebonnets for her late July wedding? Are they propagated in greenhouses?
view the full question and answer

Best time to plant wildflowers
April 22, 2007 - I am in charge of the construction of a 3-4 mile nature trail around our organization's property and was wondering, 'when is it best to plant wildflowers?
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Shaded Slope in Philadelphia
April 17, 2015 - I have a small slope along the North side of my house in a suburb of Philadelphia. A small maple tree grows there but most of it gets no sun at all (a large segment is under the tree). I had the soil ...
view the full question and answer

Using Native Plants Database to determine flowering time in Austin
April 07, 2006 - How can I access your data base to learn what plants are flowering in Austin during the months of October and early November?
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for a Sunny, Steep Slope in Maryland
April 29, 2013 - I need a groundcover for a sunny dry steep slope in Towson, Maryland. The slope goes from the parking lot down to a deck area.
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center