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

Identity of a pink-flowering bush with flowers like sweet peas
June 29, 2012 - I have found a pink flowering small tree / bush that has picky branches kind of looks like sweet pea flowers and the leaves kind of look like shumac. Growing near the thick woods of northern MI
view the full question and answer

Identification of Canopy Plant
December 01, 2008 - I recently adopted a large house plant from a neighbor who moved away. He called it a 'Canopy Plant', but I'm having no luck with that name when I search for care tips. It seems to be in poor healt...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant with orange sap that glows at night
June 06, 2012 - I was just pulling up a plant and noticed that its sap was a kind of orange then I noticed it glowing orange at night. What kind of plant is this and is it dangerous?
view the full question and answer

Dodder
April 06, 2012 - I have seen patches of Bluebonnets that are covered with a stringy,rubbery,orange substance that seems to be choking out the particular patch. It wraps itself around the flowers,completely covering th...
view the full question and answer

ID of odd woodland plant in PA?
July 20, 2009 - Found in the woods in Eastern Pennsylvania. It is about 8 inches tall and were found in clusters of 3 to 10. They are clear. with pink and black tops. Similar to a flower, but snaps like a fungus. ...
view the full question and answer

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