En Español

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?


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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - August 04, 2008

From: Las Vegas, NV
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identifcation of fragrant, white camellia-like flower
Answered by: Nan Hampton


My friend describes a beautiful, unusual smelling flower. It was a white camellia-like bloom, but was not a camellia. It was flowering in June or July in the Alabama and Mississippi region. It had an unusual fragrance: sweet, like diluted plumeria, yet it almost smelled burnt. Can you help me name the flower with this unusual fragrance?


It could well be a cultivated plant and not a native one, in which case, I'm afraid Mr. Smarty Plants isn't likely to know what it is. Here is the best possibility for native plants:

Gordonia lasianthus (loblolly bay)

Also, there are two native camellias:

Stewartia malacodendron (silky camellia)

Stewartia ovata (mountain camellia)

If none of these look like the plant your friend described, please send us photos. Please visit the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page to read the instructions on submitting photos for identification.

Gordonia lasianthus

Stewartia malacodendron

Stewartia ovata



More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
June 15, 2011 - I have a plant similar to sheepshire. It has red leaves and yellow blooms exactly like the green variety. We brought it here to Oklahoma from Wyoming. I would like to know what it's called and where ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of lily in Florida Savannas Preserve State Park
December 19, 2013 - I found a lily blooming in the Savannas Preserve State Park in Martin County Florida. It is similar to a Michaux lily but doesn't have apparent spots. The foliage is also different from photos I ha...
view the full question and answer

Native North American bulbs
August 19, 2011 - I saw your list of 4 lilies native to the Northeastern United States, which was very helpful. What other bulbs are native to North America? Although I garden in Connecticut, I am interested in learn...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID for that looks like lemon verbena
May 03, 2014 - I have a weed that looks a bit like Lemon Verbena with tiny purple flowers sprouting again this spring in my pasture. It seems to like sandy, acidy sunny areas and smells nice when you even brush up ...
view the full question and answer

Question about the Chitalpa tree
June 28, 2012 - A bush w/6" long pencil thin seed pod, leaves 4"x1/2", flower that looks like the flower on the Chitalpa tree. Is there a Chitalpa bush. The one I have I grew from seed from the pod; flat, round ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center