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 - May 23, 2009

From: Paxton, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant ID in Champaign IL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am in search of the name of a flower. It is tall, believe on a single stem, if you ever have been in Champaign, Il it grows along the interstate near the overpasses, very pretty purple flowers. I know from this brief info it will be near impossible to identify but it's all I have to go on. It is single stem, leafy, with medium purple flowers in sort of bowl shape, possibly a family of the phlox.

ANSWER:

Nope, never been to Champaign IL, but we can tell you how to search for this plant. Go to our Native Plant Database, and to "Combination Search" on that page. Search on Illinois, herb (herbaceous flowering plant) under Habit, purple under Color and May, June and July under Bloom Time. Then click on the Combination Search box. When we did this we got 169 possibilities. You can follow each plant link to the webpage on that plant, there is usually a picture, and a description of the plant. If you find one that is a good possibility, go to our Image Gallery, enter the plant scientific or common name (from the Database) and, if we have them, you will get several pictures of the plant. By clicking on an individual picture, you will get an enlarged photograph that you can examine more closely. There is always the possibility that it is an introduced non-native, and therefore would not be in our database.

If that fails, go to our Plant ID page for instruction on submitting a photo, and we will try to identify it. 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Eliminating unwanted vine on arbor in San Francisco
November 20, 2012 - There is a vine growing on our arbor, it has sickle-shaped pods and is crushing the arbor, how do we get rid of it?
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant with purple flower and tomato-like fruit
April 24, 2012 - Along the Lake Erie shoreline in Buffalo there is a summer blooming plant with a purple flower and hard flattened tomato like fruit, diameter of a quarter. It has pretty small green leaves with fine ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 27, 2008 - A friend brought back pictures of plants from a recent trip which included the center. It didn't have an identification sign on it and no one was around at that moment for him to ask. I can send th...
view the full question and answer

Native North American bulbs
August 19, 2011 - I saw your list of 4 lilies native to the Northeastern United States, which was very helpful. What other bulbs are native to North America? Although I garden in Connecticut, I am interested in learn...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification from Alpharetta GA
September 28, 2009 - I found a thorny bush in a yard. It had either immature fruit or a seed pod that I would like identified. The pod was a little larger than a golf ball, yellow, and a little fuzzy. When cut open it ...
view the full question and answer

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