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?

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
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

Tuesday - April 20, 2010

From: Chicago, IL
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am trying to identify a flowering plant (usually potted) that is commonly seen around homes in Phoenix, AZ. It has a long (1 to 1.5 ft) bare woody stem topped by an umbel of perhaps 15-20 small reddish bell-shaped flowers that hang down. The bells open downward. The flowers are perhaps 1/2 to 3/4 inches long and 1/4 to 3/8/inches across. I don't believe that there are any thorns, so it's probably not considered a cactus.

ANSWER:

This really sounds like a non-native plant, especially since you see it mostly in a container.  Our expertise and focus here at the Wildflower Center are with plants native to North America.  The only North American/Arizona native plants that sound vaguely like your description are the following:

Penstemon eatonii (firecracker penstemon)

Penstemon barbatus ssp. torreyi (Torrey's penstemon)

Penstemon barbatus (beardlip penstemon)

You need to realize that identifying plants from descriptions alone is difficult, if not impossible, to do. If none of the plants that we have suggested is the plant you have seen, we would be very happy to give your plant a try if you will send us photos.  Please visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page to read instructions for submitting photos.

Here are photos of the plants above from our Image Gallery:


Penstemon barbatus

Penstemon barbatus ssp. torreyi

Penstemon eatonii

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

What is the weed of Cortez from Shreveport, LA
November 13, 2009 - I am trying to locate the weed of Cortez. I live in northern Louisiana. Can you please let me know if you have ever heard of this? I was told that is a very rare large red flower that blooms in the sp...
view the full question and answer

Learning to identify native plants in backyard
June 28, 2011 - Please let me know how a layman like myself can identify native plants in my backyard. I don't know the plant names and don't know if they are dicots or any other technical terms (that some websites...
view the full question and answer

Information about plant called Josephs tears, possibly Jobs tears (Coix lacryma-jobi)
October 08, 2007 - I recently received a plant and was told it was a succulent called Joseph's Tears. According to the individual who gave it to me, during the month of September it develops a little growth at the tip...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
September 21, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, Hopefully you can help identify the following plant. I've had a bush type of weed growing near my hay feeder for the cows this year that's about 2' tall has massive spikes o...
view the full question and answer

How to have Mimosa and Yucca identified.
July 30, 2008 - Hello, I have recently come across what I believe to be Mimosa microphylla in a very southwest corner of Mississippi. The only thing different about this patch is its brilliant white blooms! I can no...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center