Explore Plants

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
    
 

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.

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of plant with long skinny stems and red flowers
May 07, 2008 - I keep seeing around this very pretty plant that has long skinny stems and bright red flowers that are tube like and skinny too. I would love to get this plant but do not know what it is called.
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
April 16, 2009 - I have a vine in my flowerbed that has three leaves and thorns and it looks like poison ivy. How can I tell if it is?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on epiphytes
February 20, 2003 - Can you identify the "air plants" that are hanging in the trees? They are grayish-green, and hang down like a necklace.
view the full question and answer

Plant ID at Wildflower Center from Waco TX
June 18, 2012 - I was at the Center last weekend and no one was able to answer these two questions: 1. Where can I buy Silver Ponyfoot groundcover? 2. What is the name of the plant with coral blossoms in front of...
view the full question and answer

Taxonomic question about Viola missouriensis and Viola affinis.
March 28, 2011 - I have tentatively identified a violet as either Viola affinis or V. missouriensis. However, the pages for those species are dated 2007 and 2009, respectively, in the NPIN, while it read...
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.