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
1 rating

Thursday - May 20, 2010

From: La Grange Park, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Need help identifying a plant with lupine-like leaves in La Grange Park, IL
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I encountered a plant on a level area just above a creek bed (moist soil, sun to partial sun) at one of the three largest grasslands in Illinois. The specific site looked like it may have been a burn a year or two prior. It had leaves sort of like a lupine, with something like 13 leaves in a round wheel-like arrangement per stem, and a much larger plant than lupine, not to mention a completely different looking flower. Plant was probably about 3' high. Flower was like a mini corn cob, blooming from first 2 inches at bottom, but soon to go up the deep blue/purple "flowering stalk", which was about 4 to six inches long. Any idea what it was?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants has found that it is very difficult if not impossible to identify a plant from a written description, but when you mentioned that it had Lupine-like leaves, Mr. Smarty Plants got to thinking that maybe you were looking at a Lupine. I went to our Native Plant Database page, scrolled down to the Narrow your Search box, and made the following selections: Illinois under State, Herb under Habit, and Perennial under Lifespan. I checked Part shade for Light Requirement, Dry for Soil Moisture and Purple for Bloom Color. This gave me a list of 40 plants that fit the criteria that I selected. Scrolling down the list, I came across Lupinus perennis (sundial lupine).

This plant has lupine-like leaves (7 -11 leaflets per whorl), has a size range of 1-3 feet, and the blooms are blue to purple. (images from google)

If this is not the plant you saw, and if you have pictures of the plant, go to the Plant Identification page and follow the directions for sending us images. When we get them, we'll give it another try.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Bulb identification
December 10, 2009 - My pinecone ginger (Zingiber zerumbet), my white ginger (Hedychium coronarium) and my cana lilly roots were all accidently put in the same box and now I can't tell which is which. Is there some sort ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification site
May 17, 2010 - 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/clus...
view the full question and answer

Mystery perennial in Clearfield, PA
July 07, 2009 - I have a perennial growing in my flower garden. I didn't plant extra seeds and don't know what it is..it has palm like leaves and long thin stem. It grows tall, maybe about 10 inches from the ground...
view the full question and answer

Is Tagetes lemmonii a Texas native?
July 15, 2008 - Is the Copper Canyon Daisy (Tagetes lemmonii) a native Texas plant?
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming of an apparent yucca in Ohio
March 09, 2009 - I have what looks like a yucca plant in my flower bed. but in the 3 years we have lived here it has never bloomed. It did get a little bigger and has always been green. If it is a yucca, is there any ...
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