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?


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

Monday - July 11, 2005

From: Indianapolis, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Smarty Plants on Smoke Tree
Answered by: Joe Marcus and Nan Hampton


I live in Indianapolis Indiana and there is this wonderful tree on my street which has the most unusual flowers that I've ever seen. They look like pink and white fiber optics. Spencer gift stores used to sell these fiber optic lights that look like this tree's flowers. Pink delicate colored hair-like balls that seem to float all over the tree every spring. Does anyone have a clue what the name of this tree is, or where I might be able to find some close-up photo's of its flowers? I can't figure out any better way to describe these blossoms they are unlike any tree blossom I have ever seen. I was thinking that maybe they were the "Smoke Tree" or "Smoke Bush", but I looked at several photos of those (Google search "Smoke Tree") and they didn't really look right, but then again there were no close up shots of the blooms themselves. If you have any ideas please email me. Have a terrific day and God Bless.


Your "fiber optic" tree sounds like Albizia julibrissin, Silktree or Mimosa Tree. Be sure to select "Search Images" from the menu at the top of that page to see more pictures. You can also see more pictures on the Duke University web page.

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant Identification from Ephrata PA
May 04, 2010 - I've come across a low plant with bright green leaves and a distinct burgundy on the leaf. I've been told it's called Throw Me Over The Fence, but I believe it must be called something else. I be...
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree in Ovilla TX area
May 04, 2010 - Can you identify a tall,(wild?) tree covered with fragrant, pink/lavender blooms? Have seen several in the Ovilla area this spring.
view the full question and answer

Does goldenball leadtree (Leucaena retusa) have thorns?
July 26, 2010 - I have a plant that I am told is a native Texas plant, but the person I got it from could not remember its name. They said it was very hardy and drought tolerant. It looks a little like goldenball lea...
view the full question and answer

Identification of shrub looking like honeysuckle in Odessa TX
October 02, 2011 - Bought a shrub in Pecos, TX yesterday. It looks like honeysuckle but the brightest flat orange I have ever seen. Flower and greenery looked like honeysuckle but when I looked on the Internet under or...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant resembling garlic mustard, but with purple flowers
May 18, 2012 - While searching for the invasive garlic mustard I am finding a very similar looking plant (triangular, alternate, toothed leaves; four petals, same habitat of shaded roadside and interior woods) excep...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center