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?


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
1 rating

Wednesday - August 19, 2009

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Groundcover called Jumping Jacks
Answered by: Nan Hampton


My neighbor has a beautiful ground cover and she doesn't know the name and I have searched the nurseries and internet and can not find it. She says it spreads like crazy and when she was young they called it Jumping Jacks. I think she is originally from Ohio. It is viney and can crawl over rocks. It puts out a tiny white flower with a blue/purple cross in the middle. What is it?


Mr. Smarty Plants found one low-growing flower called Jumping Jack Viola , or Johnny-Jump-Up.  It is a European native but is used extensively in gardens in North America.  There are several versions of it: a maroon version and a yellow version, pale lavender, orange, pure whitewhite and purple, and white with purple markings.  There are even more different varieties that you can find by searching Google images using its botanical name. 

If this doesn't happen to be the plant your neighbor has, please send us photos and we will do our very best to identify it.  Visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page to read the instructions for submitting photos.



More Groundcovers Questions

Ground cover for roadside in Elk Rapids MI
July 13, 2010 - Elk Rapids, MI (Lake Michigan, East Grand Traverse Bay) Greetings We are looking for a native ground cover that will cover an area along a roadside, about 100 feet from the Lake Michigan shorelin...
view the full question and answer

Natural groundcovers beneath live oaks in Austin
July 14, 2008 - We are moving to a home in NW Austin set in a forest of live oaks (15 of them). What plants are the natural groundcovers? We want to replace the 'grass' completely. There is no sun so we don't b...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover or grass for Panama City, Florida
April 19, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants I live in Panama City Florida and am having great difficulty growing a lawn. I would prefer no lawn as grass, it seems a pointless use of resources but my husband requires gr...
view the full question and answer

Where to find Horseherb seed
August 02, 2015 - I would like to purchase some Horseherb seeds. Can you tell me where I can do that? Either locally or on line. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

What to plant between patio flagstones in Austin, TX?
May 16, 2011 - I would like to plant something between my flagstones on the patio. Something that doesn't require a lot of water, low growing, and can stand a little to moderate traffic. It is in a shade to partly...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center