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
2 ratings

Wednesday - October 21, 2009

From: Rumson, NJ
Region: Northeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identfication
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi...Can you please identfy the tall, evergreen shrub with purple plum-colored foliage that I have noticed in winter locally?...Hope so, need he color! THX

ANSWER:

Well, Mr. Smarty Plants can tell you the native evergreen shrubs that produce red or purple foliage in the winter and the deciduous shrubs that have colorful fall foliage.  However, it is possible that the shrubs you are seeing are introduced and not native.  If none of the native shrubs that are listed below is the one you have seen, you can send us photos and we can perhaps identify it and determine if it is a native or non-native shrub.  Visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page for instructions for submitting photos.

 

EVERGREEN SHRUBS

Kalmia angustifolia (sheep laurel) has blue-green leaves that turn reddish-green to purplish in the fall.

Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel) leaves turn from light-green to dark-green to purple through the year.

Mahonia aquifolium (hollyleaved barberry) has dark-green leaves that turn reddish in the fall.

 

DECIDUOUS SHRUBS WITH COLORFUL FALL FOLIAGE

Cornus sericea (redosier dogwood) has reddish foliage in the fall.

Cornus racemosa (gray dogwood) with reddish twigs, leaves and fruit in the fall.

Crataegus phaenopyrum (Washington hawthorn) with red fruits and foliage in the fall.

Diervilla lonicera (northern bush honeysuckle) with dark-green leaves that turn yellowish and then red in the fall.

Photinia floribunda (purple chokeberry) with reddish to purple foliage in the fall.

Photinia melanocarpa (black chokeberry) with crimson-red foliage in the fall.  Here are photos.

Photinia pyrifolia (red chokeberry) with orange-red foliage and red berries in the fall.

Rhus copallinum (winged sumac) with dark-red foliage in the fall.

Rhus glabra (smooth sumac) with spectacular red foliage in fall.

Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac) with red berries and colorful fall foliage.

Viburnum dentatum (southern arrowwood) with reddish-purple fall foliage.

Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw) with reddish-purple fall foliage.


Kalmia angustifolia

Kalmia latifolia

Mahonia aquifolium

Cornus sericea

Cornus racemosa

Crataegus phaenopyrum

Diervilla lonicera

Photinia floribunda

Photinia pyrifolia

Rhus copallinum

Rhus glabra

Rhus typhina

Viburnum dentatum

Viburnum prunifolium
 

More Plant Identification Questions

Smarty Plants on Jewel of the Nile
June 04, 2005 - My husband and I just returned from a short trip to San Francisco. While on a bus tour that took us to the Twin Peaks area, we saw some beautiful purple flowers growing on the hillside. Our tour guid...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
June 23, 2011 - I live in Alaska and have TEENY cute 5 petaled white flowers growing on my lawn. They are very short, maybe 2 inches in height. The flower is about 1/2 inch wide. They look like a perfect tiny daisy. ...
view the full question and answer

How to solve a search problem on the Native Plant Database!
July 01, 2014 - When I use the LBJ Wildflower Center's Plant Identification Guide, it ALWAYS comes up with no results. It also ALWAYS comes up with Family: Acanthaceae. Could this be why NO question EVERY produces A...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of thorny shrub in Tennessee
October 03, 2013 - I have a mid to dark green thorny type bush growing on my land in Cosby, Tennessee. I am originaly from NJ and I have never seen it before. The stalk is varigated and the thorns are plentiful and very...
view the full question and answer

What is a Demaree Rose?
August 14, 2013 - Have been told the Apache Plume is the Wild Rose after which the Wild Rose Pass north of Ft. Davis was named. However, other research indicates it was the Demaree Rose. What is true and are there ...
view the full question and answer

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