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

Wednesday - April 30, 2008

From: Atlanta, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Correct photos of Cynoglossum virginianum
Answered by: Barbara Medford and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I recently found some "wild comfrey" (Cynoglossum virginianum) growing in woodlands in Atlanta,GA. When I used the photos on Wildflower Center website to ID this plant, I found what appears to be two different plants pictured under this name. One has a rather large rosette of fuzzy gray leaves and a yellow flower stalk (common name known to me is "moth mullin"), while the other has green leaves and tiny blue flowers atop a single stalk. Can you clarify which plants these two are? Thank you

ANSWER:

We went to our Image Gallery and found this page of Images of Cynoglossum virginianum (wild comfrey) and we agree it's difficult to tell if the pictures are all the same plant. So, we went shopping for other images of the same name and found another page of Images of Cynoglossum virginianum (wild comfrey).

Next, we did some research on "moth mullein", and again found a page of Images of Verbascum blattaria. Verbascum blattaria or moth mullein does not appear in our Native Plant Database, as it is a native of Europe and Asia. Of course, it has spread to just about every part of the United States, including Georgia. It does have a large stalk of rosettes of either pale pink or yellow flowers.

The two pictures below in our Image Gallery do, indeed, correspond to the descriptions of the native "wild comfrey" with small blue or white flowers atop a single stalk. The other six pictures we have not been able to identify clearly as either Verbascum blattaria or Cynoglossum virginianum (wild comfrey). So, we referred this to our plant guru, who tells us all six of the remaining pictures originally on the page for wild comfrey were misidentified. They are actually Verbascum thapsus, a non-native common in the United States. We appreciate your bringing this error to our attention, and the incorrect images have been removed from the database.


Cynoglossum virginianum


Cynoglossum virginianum

 

 

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Dyes from native North American plants
November 29, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have been working as a textile designer for many years and am now interested in harvesting native North American plants in order to create natural dyes. Which plant ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant along Austin's Hike 'n' Bike Trail
March 28, 2011 - Can you identify the tall (5-6 feet) lanky woody shrub which is growing on the south side of the Hike'n'Bike Trail in Austin? It is in a small garden, adopted by Maggie and Karl Key, near the new p...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification for Florida
July 10, 2011 - I am looking for the name of a plant that has long stalks and wispy long leaves with large round purple flowers on the end.
view the full question and answer

Iris brevicaulis in Southwest Michigan
April 22, 2007 - We live in Kalamazoo, MI (Southwest Michigan Zone 6) and discovered last year that we have an iris brevicaulis (we think) growing (and very pretty) on our property. It has the "zig zag" stem. It see...
view the full question and answer

Identification of pink flower near Austin
April 10, 2008 - My mother found a flower early this spring at Chrystal Falls park just outside of Austin. It was between red and salmon pink in color, tubular in shape and about 4 inches long. It smells very bad, a...
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