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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - November 10, 2009

From: McAllen, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildlife Gardens
Title: Latin name for botany mist in McAllen TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What is the latin name or formal name of botany mist which is a Queen butterfly nectar source in the Rio Grande Valley?

ANSWER:

We believe you might be referring to Conoclinium betonicifolium (betonyleaf thoroughwort), which also has the common name of Betony-leaf mistflower. This USDA Plant Profile shows that it does indeed grow in the Rio Grande Valley and along the Texas Gulf Coast. Here are the growing conditions from our Native Plant Database for this plant:

"Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Drought Tolerance: Medium
texas comments: Betony-leaf mistflower is a somewhat woody, weak, decumbent plant rooting in sand or sandy clay and found throughout the Texas coast. All the flowers are disk-type with bluish petals. Like the other blue mistflowers, this one attracts a host of butterfly species. It thrives and will flower most abundantly in full sun, but will still produce a show in part shade."

Our database does not mention the Queen butterfly species itself, but if that butterfly inhabits your area, you can be pretty sure it has found the mistflowers. They bloom blue from March to August. Since we do not have a picture of this plant in  bloom in our Native Plant Image Gallery, we are going to include some pictures of other closely related members of the Conoclinium genus. 


Conoclinium coelestinum

Conoclinium greggii

Conoclinium greggii

Conoclinium betonicifolium

 

 

 

 

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