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

Searching for a dye made from a French weed
June 09, 2009 - Dear Mr smarty plants, I watched a gardening show on cable and they talked about a place in France where they use a weed called Wod to make dye and dye fabric and several other items to sell. It was ...
view the full question and answer

Muscari neglectum image
March 23, 2007 - I am doing a school project and found a native plant on the native plant information network image gallery. It is plant NPIN Image Id 524. What is it's name?
view the full question and answer

Which one is huajillo and which one is guajillo?
November 19, 2013 - Recently I attended a field trip to the Leonard Garden at the Kleberg Institute in Kingsville. I took a picture of a tree that was referred to as Tenaza or huajillo. Later I took another photo of a ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification for Louisiana
September 12, 2009 - Trying to identify a "fruit bearing" plant around Natchitoches, Louisiana. Grows about waist high to average man, slightly elongated green leaf, bearing small green "fruit" or "berry", with pape...
view the full question and answer

Identification of groundcover plant in north Georgia mountains
September 16, 2011 - Was trail riding in N GA mountains - saw pretty ground cover plant ? vine - small green leaves with whitish borders almost look like clover leaves and has small bright red red berries - this was Aug 2...
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