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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - March 14, 2008

From: Weir, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of a Globe Mallow
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Mr. SP, Two or three years ago I purchased a mallow at the Wildflower Center that (I was told) had not yet been identified. I have looked at your pictures of Sphaeralcea hastulata which has the same flower however, the foliage on my plant is not quite as green, it is more gray. My plant is now two feet tall and probably two and a half feet wide. It did not die back this winter and is in full bloom now. What plant do you think I have. I am a docent for the Center, and am a grower located 10 miles northeast of Georgetown. I love this plant and am going to attempt to propagate it for sale.


As it happens, I am also a Docent at the Wildflower Center. (You knew it was a team, not just one incredibly brilliant person, didn't you?) I also purchased a globe mallow at the Spring Sale in 2007, and have been cultivating it in a pot in my Cement Garden (patio to my apartment) since then. It is now in glorious bloom, and I'm wondering if we may have the same plant. I also do not remember exactly the name, except it was referred to as a "globe mallow" and I vaguely remember it also being called a "woolly globe mallow." I would then infer that it would be Sphaeralcea lindheimeri (woolly globemallow). The same plant that I have is now blooming against the stone wall outside the Library on the pathway to the Administration Building entrance, so you might stop by and take a look at it the next time you're there.

I also found this Texas A&M Bioinformatics Working Group website on Texas Endemics, which shows the areas where Sphaeralcea lindheimeri (woolly globemallow) are presently found naturally are pretty exclusively in South Texas. If you're still not satisfied that we have the plant identified, could you send us a digital image? There are instructions for doing so in the lower right hand corner of the "Ask Mr. Smarty Plants" page.

Sphaeralcea lindheimeri

Sphaeralcea lindheimeri

Sphaeralcea lindheimeri



More Plant Identification Questions

Bulbs named exotica
September 01, 2008 - When I purchased some seed from a catalog I received some free bulbs called exotica which I planted.They have long green stems. I don't know what they are or what to do with them. Can I plant them ou...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
June 23, 2011 - I live in Alaska and have TEENY cute 5 petaled white flowers growing on my lawn. They are very short, maybe 2 inches in height. The flower is about 1/2 inch wide. They look like a perfect tiny daisy. ...
view the full question and answer

Identity of groundcover in Parker County, TX
June 02, 2013 - I'm trying to identify a native "groundcover" that looks much like frogfruit, as far as the leaves and growth pattern, but has small yellow flowers that look like little lanterns as buds. I know it...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 11, 2011 - This plant will grow 12-15 feet or more in height in the rural areas of Ellis County south of Dallas. In a fractal manner, stems grow out of the stalk and then from the stems. The leaves are green, th...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant with crimson tubular flowers
June 06, 2013 - I saw this lovely flower in a field in Cleveland Tx. It was growing in a patch with maybe 4 or 5 other of the same yet only in that area. The flower is crimson red, long and tubular that grow on a woo...
view the full question and answer

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