Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Incomplete question from Austin TX
June 16, 2012 - If I asked this same question but in regards to Austin TX what would the answer be? My 2 plants have spent 2 winters indoors (they are huge now and never stop blooming), but am wondering about leaving...
view the full question and answer

Identification of colicroot and yellow colic-root
March 23, 2005 - There is a green flowering bush with yellow blooms off Taylor road in Dale, Texas (Caldwell County). What type of wildflower or weed is this? Could it possibly be Yellow Colic Root?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of bamboo-like plant in California
January 10, 2014 - We just bought a house in Cambria, CA. The plant I'd like to ID grows like bamboo -- spreading fibrous stalks abt 6' high with beautiful orange blossoms that protrude out the top of the stalk. The...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification--vine with spiny pods in California
July 05, 2010 - I came across a vine while hiking in Orange County, CA. It didn't have flowers on it but has 3 or 4 inch spiny pods. What is it? The vine itself looks similar to a Morning Glory vine.
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant known as mosquito plant (Agastache cana)
October 11, 2007 - I received some seeds from an annual plant that came from Bowie, Tx. It has square stems, like mint plants, medium size leaves turns purple when in the sun and had a strong odor when brushed against. ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.