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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - May 17, 2010

From: El Monte, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification site
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Is there a site I can use to identify plants by photos of leaves, flowers, berries etc? I found a plant in my yard I cannot identify. The nursery near us could not identify it. It has some groups/clusters of 3 - 5 "berries" that are about 1/4 inch and some have turned purpley black. It also has small white flowers with a yellow center.

ANSWER:

If your plant is native to North America, you might be able to find it on our website.  Go to our Native Plant Database and do a COMBINATION SEARCH, entering 'California' in the Select State or Province slot and then try 'Shrub' in the Habit (general appearance) slot.  You can change that entry to search other plant types.  You could also enter 'White' under Bloom Color.  When I read your description of the plant again, one plant popped into my mind that sort of matches your description—Phytolacca americana (American pokeweed).  Birds could have brought the seeds into your garden.

If this doesn't happen to be the plant and you couldn't find it by searching our database, please send us photos and we will do our best to identify it.  Visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page to read the instructions for submitting photos.

Here are photos of American pokeweed from our Image Gallery:


Phytolacca americana

Phytolacca americana

Phytolacca americana

Phytolacca americana

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Wildflower in southeastern Pennsylvania
May 20, 2008 - I live in southeastern Pennsylvania and want to identify a wild flower that is common along small town and rural roads and highways. It is blooming now (Mid May), has a flower spike similar to a larks...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
April 04, 2010 - There is a wildflower growing in my pasture. It is low growing, triangle leaves, flowers are blue, five petals with what looks like a white flower in the middle. Gods blessings to all there.
view the full question and answer

Mystery small tree with many large thorns
May 09, 2011 - In a small spot on over 2 acres, we have this strange tree/shrub. It is a single, straight stem with no branches, and has profuse, large thorns from top to bottom. At the top of the stem, the leaves...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant with speckled green leaf
June 21, 2015 - I have a purple (or brown) speckled green leaf plant with tiny yellow daisy-like flowers. The leaf is fuzzy looking on the edge. Self seeds freely in my shady garden.
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

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