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 tree along Austin highways
April 01, 2011 - I am trying to identify a large tree seen along many Austin Highways. The best ID can find is Western Soapberry, but the articles all specify white blooms. The trees I see have purple clusters of bloo...
view the full question and answer

Identification of shrub with red berries in Tennessee
January 24, 2014 - Hello, I've got a shrub in my backyard; it has leaves off in groups of 3 and it has multiple reddish berries in groups by the dozens. I'm not sure what plant it is. The shrub is stick-like and appr...
view the full question and answer

Identification of blue flower
April 10, 2012 - I have two similar (but obviously different) wild flowers growing on my property. I have pictures of each. What email address can I use to send them to you to identify? I thought one was blue-...
view the full question and answer

Identity of an Astragalus species near Terlingua, TX
May 14, 2013 - I have been photographing as many of the wildflowers that I can this Spring 2013 season here in the Big Bend Area between BBNP, Terlingua and Alpine, TX. Two days ago I took a drive from Terlingua to ...
view the full question and answer

ID of plant from florist in Moorestown NJ
November 21, 2009 - I recently purchased a cut stem from the local florist for an autumn flower arrangement. The leaves are very, very small and bamboo-like in looks. They are not oval and are 1/8 inches long. The bra...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center