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

Identification of flower in book
August 12, 2015 - Hi, I make paper flowers and I came across this flower in my book under the name camellia. But I am sure it is not. I tried finding out similar flowers but i am lost as I don't know if such a flower ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of a trillium in New Jersey
June 23, 2011 - I have several Trillium grown from one seed source. The plant looks like Trillium cuneatum, but unlike that plant, the stems of these plants -- which seed freely in my Northwest New Jersey garden -- l...
view the full question and answer

Identifying Rhus lanceolata in Texas
April 28, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I think I've identified two small trees, 4 to 5 feet high at the back fence line and two in the front yard flower beds as prairie flameleaf sumac (or at least some kind of s...
view the full question and answer

Sending a picture of an oak from Yorktown TX
December 02, 2011 - How I can I send a pic of my oak in Yorktown near Cuero?
view the full question and answer

What trees in Austin right now have yellow leaves that are falling?
December 08, 2008 - Right now there are trees in Austin that have bright yellow leaves. Do you know what trees native to Austin turn a very bright yellow in November? It looks like now the leaves are starting to fall off...
view the full question and answer

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