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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - July 01, 2008

From: Peoria, IL
Region: Northeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Orange and fuschia flowers on bushes in Maine
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I recently visited Portland,ME from end of May to the second week in June. many of the homes had these beautiful flowering bushes next to the houses. The flowers grew in clusters similar to hydrangeas, but the colors were a bright orange on one bush and more of a fushia color on the others. I'm wondering if you have any ideas.

ANSWER:

The only plants that are native to Maine that fit that description are laurels/azaleas/rhododendrons:

Kalmia angustifolia (sheep laurel)

Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)

Kalmia polifolia (bog laurel)

Rhododendron canadense (rhodora)

Rhododendron maximum (great laurel)

Rhododendron prinophyllum (early azalea)

Rhododendron viscosum (swamp azalea)

These range from whites, pinks to fuschias, but there aren't in orange ones native to Maine. However, there are orange rhodendrons that are native to the southeast—Rhododendron austrinum (orange azalea), for USDA Hardiness Zones 7 to 9 and Rhododendron calendulaceum (flame azalea), hardy in USDA zones 5 to 7. They wouldn't survive Maine's winters since its Hardiness Zones are mainly 3 and 4.

There are some other native plants which are not naturally native to Maine, but are native to North America, that are sold in Maine as garden plants and would fit your description of orange hydrangea-like flowers. There are also some with pink flowers. These are some of the showier milkweeds:

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed)

From our National Suppliers Directory I found that both Fieldstone Gardens in Vassalboro, Maine and Pierson Nurseries in Biddeford, Maine offer these two plants for sale.

If none of these plants are what you saw, it is possible that these are non-native cultivated species and that would be out of our area of expertise. If you have pictures of the plants, however, you can send us photos and we will do our best to identify them. Visit the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page for instructions (under "Plant Identification") for submitting photos.


Kalmia angustifolia

Kalmia latifolia

Kalmia polifolia

Rhododendron canadense

Rhododendron maximum

Rhododendron prinophyllum

Rhododendron viscosum

Rhododendron austrinum

Rhododendron calendulaceum

Asclepias tuberosa

Asclepias tuberosa

Asclepias incarnata

Asclepias incarnata

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Carolina allspice (Calycanthus floridus) in Jasper TX
October 27, 2011 - Carolina allspice (calycanthus floridus) grows in my yard in East Texas. It is native to the eastern U.S., but I notice there is a variety whose distribution extends through Louisiana. Since I live in...
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

Thermopsis caroliniana not in database from Philadelphia
September 16, 2009 - Thermopsis caroliniana is not in your plant database. What is the reason for that? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Identification of vine with green flowers
May 23, 2012 - Trying to identify a vine with 5-petaled ~1 cm dia green flowers (w/ barely perceptible white & black speckles). I have 3 photos I can send (showing flowers & leaves). The flower petals are almost...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 17, 2011 - I have an area of some plants growing wild in woods behind my house. It will creep onto adjoining plants and has a delicate lavender colored flower that is curled up similar to a sweetpea, has a very ...
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