En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - October 09, 2009

From: Chennai, India
Region: Other
Topic: Medicinal Plants
Title: Use of North American native in India
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I got mail from someone who is living in U.K asking me to co-ordinate for getting the "Silphium terebinthinaceum seed" from various places for one Pharmaceutical company as a business. Is it the common business every body doing? Is there any legal threat & is it worth while to do it?


This is totally out of our area. Silphium terebinthinaceum (prairie rosinweed) is a plant native to the midwest in North America. We know nothing about any pharmaceutical use for it, and would not recommend it being used anywhere out of its native area. We recently received another question from someone in India saying they wished to have it for a private garden. Here is our answer:

"The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, TX is dedicated to the use, care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown. Silphium terebinthinaceum (prairie rosinweed) is native to 18 states in the United States and Ontario in Canada. That is the extent of our activity and expertise. We have no connections with anyone who might donate seed, and since the plant is probably not native to India, it could become a non-native invasive in your country, not a good thing."


From the Image Gallery

Prairie rosinweed
Silphium terebinthinaceum

Prairie rosinweed
Silphium terebinthinaceum

Prairie rosinweed
Silphium terebinthinaceum

Prairie rosinweed
Silphium terebinthinaceum

More Medicinal Plants Questions

Are Viguiera dentate leaves toxic to dogs?
November 26, 2014 - Many dogs on the Turkey Creek Nature Trail in Emma Long Metropolitan Park love to snack on the leaves of the Viguiera Dentata plants. The leaves SEEM to be harmless. I am writing to request informat...
view the full question and answer

Availability of ruda plants (Ruta graveolens) in Alabama
September 10, 2008 - I want to know is ruda plants available in alabama? If so where can I find it.
view the full question and answer

Tree that successfully treats psoriasis
January 31, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty plants,I have a rather unusual question. Do you know of a tree/plant that you can grow in a container, looks like a conifer/evergreen, is green, has wispy looking branches, but when t...
view the full question and answer

Identifying a plant similar to sarsaparilla
September 04, 2011 - I am trying to identify a plant that looks very similar to sasparilla, but has a ring of blue berries at the end of a long stalk, and the plant itself is spreading, not an isolated herb like sasparill...
view the full question and answer

Pictures and information on Scutellaris laterifolia, Blue Skullcap
June 19, 2006 - I am trying to find information on Scutellaria laterifolia (skullcap), of the plant family "labiatea". Do you have any info or pictures? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center