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

Sunday - July 06, 2008

From: LaPorte, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant Identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am trying to identify a small tree or large plant here in Indiana. I have seen it from 6 ft to as tall as 15 to 20. It is a green leaf with pink cone shaped growth at the ends of a branch. The cone is upside down (wide part is base of branch) The pink is furry and is made up of very small balls that are greenish/whitish closer to the center of the cone. I first saw this when O was a girl scout in southern Michigan(same are just 10 Min North of here) I actually licked one on a dare back then and it was very sweet tasting. I have been told it is poisonious, but no one seems to know what it is. I did not get sick from it and my father can chew poison ivy and roll around in it (from his childhood stories also) and not get it, so it is possible I would not not have a reaction to poisonious plants either. I do have a picture, but cannot find anything like it on the internet. Please help.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants has looked for this, but either it's not a plant native to North America and thus is not in our Native Plant Database or I haven't understood your description well enough to recognize it. I am assuming that what you are describing is the fruit of the plant, am I right? If so, do you know what the flower looked like that produced the fruit? Can you describe the shape of the leaves? Does it grow in the woods or in or near someone's lawn or garden? If you can provide this information, Mr. SP might have a better chance of identifying it. Better yet, if you happen to have photos of it, please send them to us and we will have an even better chance of identifying it. Visit Ask Mr. Smarty Plants to find the instructions (under "Plant Identification") for submitting photos.

In case it is a native plant, here is a way you can search for it yourself in our Native Plant Database. Do a Combination Search, selecting 'Indiana' from the Select State or Province category and select 'Tree' from the Habit (general appearance) category. You will get a list of trees that are native and grow in Indiana with thumbnail photos next to most of the entries. You can scroll through them and see if you find one that looks like your plant. You can do the search again choosing 'Shrub' instead of 'Trees' and/or 'Michigan' instead of 'Indiana'.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

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 identification in Parker County, Texas
June 14, 2011 - Hi. Growing alongside a country road, here in Parker County I photographed what I thought might be cardinal flowers. However, in searching books and on the net, I cannot find any quite like these. ...
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

E-mailing a picture for Plant ID from Dexter KY
June 25, 2012 - Could I email a picture of a vine that is taking over my porch? Can't seem to find it anywhere. It is dark green and relatively shiny with 10 leaves on each stem.
view the full question and answer

Identification of Sagittaria-like plant with purple flowers
July 21, 2011 - I have collected a wetland plant that I can't seem to identify. Its an emergent plant collected along with a species of sagittaria. Very similar in leaf structure to an sagittaria or alisima, but i...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center