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

Wednesday - March 15, 2006

From: Austin, TX
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Possibly escaped non-native Buddleja davidii in Missouri
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

About 3 years ago my wife and I were traveling thru southeastern Missouri and stopped at a road side rest station on Interstate 44. While we were there we noticed a shrub about 4 to 5 feet tall with pale blue flowers. This plant was covered with butterflies. We counted 12 to 15 different types. There were other flowering plants in the same bed and in other beds nearby but all of the butterflies were on this one plant. This was in late August/early September. Is there anyway to find out what this plant was? Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER:

It is possible that the shrub you saw was butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii—often spelled: Buddleia). It is not native to North America, but is commonly planted in gardens and may be an escapee. It comes in a variety of colors, blooms in late summer, and is definitely a butterfly magnet. Another possibility for a cultivated plant that fits your description is French hybrid ceanothus (Ceanothus x delilianus). It is a hybrid of C. coeruleus (synonym=C. caeruleus) from Mexico and C. americanus that is native to Missouri. The hybrid is a hardy plant with pale blue flowers.

Here are some other possibilities that are Missouri natives and somewhat fit your description:

Blue sage (Salvia azurea var. grandiflora)
Narrow-leaved mountain mint (Pycnanthemum tenuifolium)
Mountain mint (Pycnanthemum pilosum)

If none of these look like the shrub you saw, you might check the plants with blue flowers on Missouriplants.com.
 

More Non-Natives Questions

Cold hardy non-native fig tree for Dallas
July 04, 2008 - Do you know the best cold hardy fig tree that will grow and fruit in Dallas, Texas?
view the full question and answer

Hurricane resistant alternatives to crape myrtle
September 02, 2007 - Are there any native small to medium trees (15-25 ft) to use instead of crapemyrtles (Lagerstroemia indica)? Crapemyrtles come in many colors and bend with hurricane winds instead of snapping or uproo...
view the full question and answer

Sweet cherry tree for New Mexico
January 23, 2013 - What is the best kind of sweet cherry tree to plant in Santa Fe, NM? I have apple, apricot, peach and pear. Would like cherry unless it is a bad idea.
view the full question and answer

Do Salvia coccinea and Salvia occidentalis occur in Hawaii
April 27, 2008 - Aloha, Would you please happen to know if the salvia occidentalis and the salvia coccinea are growing in a wild state in Hawaii, the quantity (small or large areas? What are the weather conditions ...
view the full question and answer

Wrapping a newly planted non-native Japanese maple from Fraser MI
October 01, 2013 - Does a newly planted Japanese maple need to be wrapped in burlap for the cold and snowy winter of Macomb County, Michigan?
view the full question and answer

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