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?

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
2 ratings

Wednesday - August 06, 2008

From: Carnation, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification, possibly Actaea rubra, red baneberry
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I came across a plant that has leaves similar to the astillbe shrub, stands about 3 feet high, and instead of a flower spire, has a chunk of bright red berries the size of medium-sized pearls atop its "pole". The stem is hollow,green, and it was last week of July that I spotted it, standing out in the brush like a red flag - a big pompom solid-packed with berries all by its lonesome under the tall firs. We are in Washington State and I've been researching for two days now on native plants with red berries and can't raise it. I've found two of these plants growing singly straight up with that pompom of bright red berries. Each berry contains about 10 large, wedge-shaped seeds. I don't know the color the flower may have been or what month it bloomed. I did a leaf rubbing of the leaves, which look very similar to astillbe. What could it be?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants thinks you saw Actaea rubra (red baneberry). Here are photos from Colorado, Connecticut, Wisconsin, California and Central Washington. Sometimes they have white berries instead of red ones. If this isn't it, please let us know and we will try again.

 


Actaea rubra

Actaea rubra

Actaea rubra

Actaea rubra

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of daisy-like wildflower in New Mexico
August 19, 2011 - I recently visited Angel Fire, NM and I cannot identify the daisy-like wildflower that was growing there. August seemed to be the favorite time for this flower. I asked the local nursery and they th...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID of invasive vine from Austin
August 21, 2013 - A friend lives in southwest Austin and has a vine that's coming up all over her yard. I am a Williamson County Master Gardener and have asked all the garden gurus in my group what it is from a photo ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of giant lilies
October 12, 2007 - I have giant lilies that I can't identify. The bulbs are about 4" in diameter, the leaves are 4 ft long. The flowers of the pink emerge only in the early summer, the flowers of the red emerge in s...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 10, 2008 - Mr. Smarty Plants, My neighbor gave me a plant that is about 3 foot tall, has a main stalk, and leaves that produce small “baby” plants at the edge of the leaves. These plants grow roots and once dev...
view the full question and answer

Identifcation of flower in a bouquet
August 30, 2009 - My boyfriend bought a bouquet and I'd like to know the name of the kind of green flower that looks like a mum but the petals look like rich, full grass or like a tall shag carpet. It has a stem with ...
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