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

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

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

Plant identification for Beeville, TX
May 15, 2011 - Hi, Mr. Smarty Plants, I just saw this question on your web site: "Today in Beeville, TX I came across a plant that looks like a grass, but has a small black and white dotted flower. The flower lo...
view the full question and answer

Identification of stinging plant in Central Texas
July 02, 2012 - I live on 15 acres on Nameless Road. When walking on property, occasionally my leg/ankle brushes against some plant that "stings" me. Like little needles in my skin. Doesn't last long, but becau...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification for West Virginia
May 01, 2011 - Looking for the name of a wild flower in West Virginia, small golden colored petals..resembles a daisy.
view the full question and answer

Who was Salvia clevelandii named for?
May 12, 2009 - Where does the term "clevelandii (as in the Salvia I recently saw for the first time) originate?
view the full question and answer

Identification of orange flowering tree in West Virginia
May 21, 2008 - I was wondering if you might have any suggestions as to what small tree-like plant I saw over the last two weeks (mid May) in West Virginia, in the woods, in the mountains. With honeysuckle-like leav...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center