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

Plant identification of conifer-like low plant in Alabama
September 27, 2011 - When walking in woods of Alabama we found a plant that grows along the ground. looks like a conifer about 2 or 3 inches tall, has a trailing vine under the leaves and pops up little sprigs of greener...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
August 28, 2008 - Hello. There is a plant growing next to my 4 o'clocks that I didn't plant which is almost the same height as them, but has different leaves and it grows wider. It has these huge light green upside d...
view the full question and answer

Identity of yellow-flowered plant with stickers
November 06, 2012 - I have yellow flowered plant taking over my lawn. I used weed killers last year and it has spread this year and still spreading. It has small burs (not as hard as a regular sticker bur but will stic...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Smoke Tree
July 11, 2005 - I live in Indianapolis Indiana and there is this wonderful tree on my street which has the most unusual flowers that I've ever seen. They look like pink and white fiber optics. Spencer gift stores us...
view the full question and answer

Wild native trees with orange blooms
March 30, 2012 - What is the wild native tree that is blooming orange blooms - as you drive down the road thru Chappel Hill, and Brenham area. I've never seen these before when we went viewing bluebonnets - however,...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center