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

Saturday - June 04, 2005

From: Rchardson, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Smarty Plants on Jewel of the Nile
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

My husband and I just returned from a short trip to San Francisco. While on a bus tour that took us to the Twin Peaks area, we saw some beautiful purple flowers growing on the hillside. Our tour guide called them "Jewel of the Nile" or Comal, and said that when they first bloom their color is orange, then turns purple, and finally blue. The stem of the flower is thick and tall and the flower itself appeared to be at least six inches long. I think that the petals grow in a vertical cluster. What is the proper name for this flower or plant? Is it a wildflower, native to California, or a transplant? Do you think this flower could be grown in the Dallas, Texas area (if I were able to obtain a specimen)?

ANSWER:

I suspect that what you were seeing was "Lily of the Nile" (Agapanthus africanus) or (Agapanthus praecox). These are African species that have been introduced and cultivated as a garden plant. They are very common in gardens of the San Francisco area and could well have escaped into the countryside. As far as I know, however, the blooms begin blue (or white), not orange. They may darken as they mature, however. Their hardiness range is Zones 7 to 9. Since Dallas is in Zone 8, it should do just fine. However, it would be a good idea to confine the plants to a container to keep them from escaping into natural areas since they are not native.
 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of gourd plant growing in central California
August 10, 2012 - I am not sure if this flowering plant is native to North America. It is found in dry land grazing fields at about 100 feet in elevation in central California. It is large--2-6 feet across with a sti...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 18, 2011 - Hello- I would like to know what is this plant? It grows in part to full sun over a large area; gray fuzzy, quilted, pointed leaves. It is now about 6-10" tall plants but there are untrimmed 24-3...
view the full question and answer

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

Identifying a plant similar to sarsaparilla
September 04, 2011 - I am trying to identify a plant that looks very similar to sasparilla, but has a ring of blue berries at the end of a long stalk, and the plant itself is spreading, not an isolated herb like sasparill...
view the full question and answer

Books on Lilies
August 27, 2006 - Dear Sir, I am looking for a book covering the Lily Family as a whole, i.e., it should preferably also discuss other Genera than Lilium only. I am especially interested in Lily members occurring in t...
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