En Español

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

Plant identification for Beeville, TX
May 15, 2011 - Hi, Mr. Smarty Plants, I just saw this question on your web site: "Today in Beeville, TX I came across a plant that looks like a grass, but has a small black and white dotted flower. The flower lo...
view the full question and answer

Trees with white blossoms in Crockett, Texas
March 21, 2015 - What are the trees that are blooming just East of Crockett Texas (off of Hwy 21) right now - fairly large trees - multitude of white blooms - almost like a wild plum or pear, but tree seems too large?...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a vine with red berries in Weatherford, Texas
October 17, 2014 - I have found a vine with red berries that I would appreciate an ID for. How can I send you a photo or two of it?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
July 24, 2010 - Purchased foliage plant - no one knows its name. Leaves (stems) are bright green and 10" tall. Has "babies" like a spider plant but leaves (stems) are wider and thicker. Has a "rib" to them in...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 12, 2008 - We are trying to identify a plant that looks a lot like elephant ear, but has round leaves not heart shaped. It is growing in a wet area that gets good morning sun. It is not a native. It returns e...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center