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?

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

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
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 possibly red buckeye
July 06, 2008 - I encountered a shrub-like plant in the Edwards Plateu noth of Bracketville, and could use your help with identification. It's most distinguishing charactaristics are the seed pod, which has three c...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of 3-leaf plant with red berries in Utah
July 27, 2011 - I would like to send you a picture to ID a 3 leaf plant with red berries. Could you give me an email to do that? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Plant identification in Michigan
May 26, 2010 - We are trying to identify a plant in our yard. It is seven inches tall in May, grows to about knee high, has red leaves, flowers in late June, early July. The flower is light pink. It is a perennia...
view the full question and answer

Identification of orange hydrangea-like flower
April 19, 2008 - I am trying to identify a tree...It is a tree like bush if that makes any sense...It has tree limbs and it is bushy like a bush...I thought it might be a hydrangea bush that grows straight up instead ...
view the full question and answer

Tree that looks like cedar elm but with smooth bark
August 09, 2014 - What tree looks like a cedar elm, but has smooth bark?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center