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?

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
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
7 ratings

Friday - July 17, 2009

From: New River, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: What is sage-like plant in New River AZ?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a sage like looking plant growing wild in my yard. I live in the Sonora Desert. Its leaves are purple and once a year in spring it will bloom small blooms that are lavender. It grows 2 to 3 and a half feet tall. It sort of spreads out rather than grows totally upwards-although it does grow upwards. I thought it was purple sage but after reading about purple sages they all have green leaves and bloom purple-hope you can help.

ANSWER:

The first plant that comes to mind from your description is Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush), which has gray-green leaves, bright pink-lavender flowers that will bloom intermittently all year, 2 to 5 ft. tall. However, you said it was growing wild in your yard, and this USDA Plant Profile does not show it as being native to Arizona. This is not a member of the Salvia genus, not a true sage, but is often called "Texas Sage" or "Ranger Sage" in commercial trade. But not even the cultivars or selections of this plant that we could find information on have purple leaves and, again, they would not ordinarily be growing wild in Arizona.

Looking at the true sages, we found Salvia leucophylla (San Luis purple sage), but this plant is endemic to California, and doesn't look anything like your description. 

We would love to know what your plant is, but will need more information and a picture or pictures to help us identify it. Go to the Mr. Smarty Plants page on Plant Identification for instructions on how to submit pictures and descriptions to us for identifying.


Leucophyllum frutescens

Leucophyllum frutescens

Salvia leucophylla

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of night-blooming yellow flower
June 03, 2010 - My Nonna used to have a plant that was a night bloomer. It had leaves that looked like a dandelion, and bloomed a bright yellow flower at dusk. I have never seen anything like it although they were pl...
view the full question and answer

Plant called crows foot/feet used to make wreaths at Christmas
December 20, 2008 - In Pennsylvania there was a green ground hugging vine I knew as "crow's feet/foot" we used in the 1950s at Christmas time for wreaths and window and door borders. It looked like a cluster of bird'...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant with crimson tubular flowers
June 06, 2013 - I saw this lovely flower in a field in Cleveland Tx. It was growing in a patch with maybe 4 or 5 other of the same yet only in that area. The flower is crimson red, long and tubular that grow on a woo...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
August 28, 2010 - I have a very distinctive vine accompanying morning glory in invading my beds - it is Prickly! (on the vine, underside of leaves, leaf stems). The leaf is not arrowhead, but a triangle; I've not seen...
view the full question and answer

Identification of 3 small flowers in Hays County, Texas
June 25, 2012 - Trying to identify three (3) wildflowers growing on my property in the northwest corner of Hays Co, all very, very small blooms of about 1 cm. (roughly 1/4 inch): (1) small white blooms with five peta...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center