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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

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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Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

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Saturday - May 23, 2009

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


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.


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. 


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