Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
2 ratings

Saturday - June 07, 2008

From: Kansas City, MO
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of plant with large furry leaves
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have 4 huge plants in my flower garden that I cannot identify. They look like an unfolding cabbage with large furry leaves. They also have tiny stickers on them. This a.m. I went out to check on them & the leaves appear to be rotting. What can it be???

ANSWER:

The large furry leaves unfolding like cabbage sound like mullein (Verbascum thapsus), an introduced species brought over with European settlers in the 1700s. It has spread over North America as well as generally around the world. The only part of your description that doesn't match with mullein is that I am not aware that mullein has "tiny stickers". If this isn't the plant in your garden, please send us some photos of the plants and we will do our best to identify it. To send us photos, please visit the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page and read the instructions under "Plant Identification".
 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant ID in Woodbury TN
July 07, 2009 - Please help identify this unusual plant. I am in Middle TN, Cannon County. This plant comes up every year and looks like something tropical. It has huge leaves about 16 + inches wide. and grows abo...
view the full question and answer

Identification of spiny plant in Yucca Mesa, CA
March 02, 2011 - I have a very prickly bush on my property near Yucca Mesa, CA, (high desert). 2 to 3 feet high. Branches mostly starting from the center near ground. Lots of 1 to 2 inch spines on branches. Dormant in...
view the full question and answer

How to distinguish white-flowered Baptisias?
June 07, 2010 - How can I tell the difference between Baptisia alba and Baptisia alba var. macrophylla
view the full question and answer

Plant ID from Bracketville TX
June 23, 2010 - A volunteer plant, 3 feet. 4 to 5 Dark green leaves from a central point, diamond shaped very serrated leaves with dark spots within the the leave. Stem is reddish. flowers are pinkish, small and clus...
view the full question and answer

What are the differences between Arbutus xalapensis, A. unedo and A. marina
August 29, 2013 - One nursery lists madrone trees as arbutus uneda compacta and arbutus marina. The other lists it as arbutus xalapensis, which is the only name I can find in the data base. There is a very large pric...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.