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

Thursday - July 16, 2009

From: Hutchinson, MN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Mystery plant in private garden in Hutchinson MN
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I recently toured an amazing private garden. While touring the owner called her potted plant with purple clustered flowers something that sounds like 'pinsta'. Do you have any idea what it might have been? Pinsta does not come up in a Google search.

ANSWER:

The closest we can come to that name and that description is Lanceolata penta. It does come in purple blooms, as you can see from this page of Images from Google. It is non-native to North America, rather originating in Africa. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use and preservation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. Since we would not have it in our Native Plant Database, you can get more information on Lanceolata penta from this Floridata site. That site does mention that the Penta acts as a perennial in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 8 to 11, but in Zone 4a, where McCloud County is located, and where average annual minimum temperatures are -30 to -25 deg F, it would have to be treated as a summer annual, or raised in a greenhouse. 

Ordinarily, in plant identification questions, we ask that a picture be submitted, but since the plant you saw was in a private garden, you may not have had the opportunity to get a picture. If you did, and you do not think this plant was a Penta, go to our instructions page on Plant Identification, and submit a photo; we'll try to identify it. 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Information about pre-1920s biodiversity near San Antonio
February 12, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I am transforming my .3 acre urban yard three miles north of downtown San Antonio into a native wildscape. I am planting all native plants using your website, books, and nea...
view the full question and answer

Carolina allspice (Calycanthus floridus) in Jasper TX
October 27, 2011 - Carolina allspice (calycanthus floridus) grows in my yard in East Texas. It is native to the eastern U.S., but I notice there is a variety whose distribution extends through Louisiana. Since I live in...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 01, 2010 - I have a grandchild that said the seed pod on a plant that looks like a clover is edible. It has clover like leaves and a little yellow flower. I did taste it and it kind of taste like a pickle. Th...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant, possibly giant ragweed (Ambrosia trifida)
January 30, 2008 - I am trying to identify a weed that was prevalant where I grew up in North Central Texas. It grows in low spots and along creeks. It has woody stalks with short spines, grows 3'- 6' tall, the leaves...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
September 21, 2009 - NEAR ABILENE STATE PARK GREEN RODS SHOOT UP PURPLE BLOOM MID TO LATE SEPTEMBER LONG AND SLENDER WITH GREEN SPIKES ALMOST LIKE A PINE OR EVERGREEN COMES EVERY YEAR NO MATTER HOW MUCH RAIN WHAT IS IT?...
view the full question and answer

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