En Español

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

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
123 ratings

Wednesday - January 16, 2008

From: Milford, CT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: The most common wildflower in North America
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus


Hi Mr. Smartyplants, What the most common wildflower in North America? My friend thinks it's the oxeye daisy. Is this correct? I work for a puzzle publishing company, and am doing research for a themed puzzle. The puzzle is about wildflowers. Hope you can help! Debra in Milford, CT


The answer depends on how you define the terms, "common" and "wildflower." Many of the most "common wildflowers"—that is, species commonly called wildflowers and occurring in all 48 contiguous states—are of Old World origin. Many are also considered weeds. Among them are Oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare), Bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare), Bachelor's buttons (Centaurea cyanus), Queen Anne's-lace (Daucus carota), Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule), Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) and Shepherd's purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) that all came from Europe or Asia.

Native candidates that occur in all the "lower 48 states" (though all are not native to every state) are Common yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Carolina Crane's-bill (Geranium carolinianum), and Sleepy catchfly (Silene antirrhina).

For our money, however, the two most common wildflowers (herbaceous native plants with showy flowers) are Blackeyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) and Common sunflower (Helianthus annuus). Both occur all across America and in many places occur in vast numbers.

Good luck with your puzzle and we hope it includes lots of native wildflowers.

Achillea millefolium

Geranium carolinianum

Silene antirrhina

Rudbeckia hirta

Helianthus annuus



More Wildflowers Questions

Overseeding native wildflower seeds as opposed to herbicides
August 10, 2006 - Greetings from Alabama, We would like to "roundup" approx 2 A and plant some wildflower (s) that would TAKE OVER. We have 20 A and over half is in mixed woods. Pine, oak, sweetgum, and ???. Do y...
view the full question and answer

Flowering plant for gravesite in Weatherford TX
June 23, 2013 - I want to plant flowering plant of some kind at parent's grave site in Weatherford, TX. The family cemetery is on a limestone hill with no irrigation or ability to water other than nature. Would on...
view the full question and answer

Getting rid of wildflowers in Frankfort IL
September 02, 2009 - Can you tell us how to get rid of wildflowers? We have wildflowers on the side of our pond and we want to plant sod next year.Should we cut them down this year and use a vegetation killer? We have fi...
view the full question and answer

Blooms as far as the eye can see
March 06, 2008 - Why are some wildflowers capable of putting on spectacular sweeps of blooms "for as far as the eye can see" such as Indian paintbrush at Vail Pass in Colorado, or bluebonnets in the Texas hill count...
view the full question and answer

Pink wildflowers on DFW runways in April-June
October 10, 2013 - I fly thru DFW quite often and have noticed in April-June timeframe the runways are dotted with a light pink colored wildflower. Have asked the DFW Customer Service folks for the name, ones I've ask...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center