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

Possible identification of native white buddlejas in Austin
July 18, 2007 - I am desperately trying to identify a plant. It looks perennial, is in full sun, is about 7 ft. tall, bloomed white blossoms (similar in form to buddleia) in June, which have now changed from rose-co...
view the full question and answer

Possible identification of common mullein in New York
July 06, 2007 - OK I have a monster size plant, growing beside my patio, looked weedlike similar to a burdock when young, but different and interesting. So we let it grow its now about 7'2" tall grows about 2-3" ...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
August 15, 2008 - My father-in-law received seeds from a friend-- he didn't know what kind of plant it would grow. Now he questions what kind of plant it is-- it has a red stalk and 17 inch leaves, it appears to grow...
view the full question and answer

Mystery plant in New Jersey
December 29, 2009 - We are trying to find the name of a shrub, growing in Southern New Jersey. with red berries that grow in a group much like lilac or oak leaf hydrangea. It is "feathery", not dense. A neighbor dug u...
view the full question and answer

Identity of rubbery-looking tree with long green thorns
March 21, 2012 - I am trying to identify a tree that has a green rubbery look with long, sharp, green thorns. This tree is on my property in Conroe, TX and the soil type is Gladwater clay frequently flooded.
view the full question and answer

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