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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Saturday - April 25, 2009

From: Buffalo, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant Identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton


What is: square stalk perennial with bright yellow flowers at the top (mainly)? Starts growing first thing in spring, invades surrounding areas, puts out long serrated leaves along the 7-8 ft stalks. Blooms in August and lasts through first frosts. Flowers are round w/ 2-inch petals around a tough green seed center.


Mr. Smarty Plants gives up.  What is it?  Just kidding!  The square stalk suggests a member of the Family Lamiaceae (Mint Family).  If you select Lamiaceae (Mint Family) in our Native Plant Database and then NARROW THE SEARCH by selecting 'New York' from the Select State or Province and 'Yellow' from Bloom Characteristics, Color, you will find only three species, none of which matches your description:  Agastache nepetoides (yellow giant hyssop), Collinsonia canadensis (richweed) and Monarda punctata (spotted beebalm). Either Mr. Smarty Plants doesn't understand the description or your flower is not a species native to North America.  If you have photos of this flower and will send them to us, we will be very happy to try to identify it.  Please read the instructions for submitting photos on Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page.



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