En Español

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

Verbena bonariensis won't bloom in Galveston, TX.
July 03, 2014 - My Verbena bonariensis is thriving, but never blooms. The plants look healthy, are about 6 feet tall and in full sun. The buds turn light purple but never open to flower. My neighbor's vb are ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native ornamental peach purchased in Georgetown TX
March 29, 2011 - I purchased an "ornamental peach" at a plant sale in Georgetown, TX. Only info it had on the tag: 6' tall. The leaves are long and narrow, burgundy, with serrated edges; is in a 1-qt pot. Any ca...
view the full question and answer

Problem with non-native Houttuynia cordata (chameleon)
January 30, 2012 - I have a Houttuynia cordata chameleon plant in a clay pot. My zone is 9b and my yard is partial sun. Up until January, it was thriving. Now, it is dead. I think the cold killed it. I kept it moist at ...
view the full question and answer

Comments on non-native Tecomas from Phoenix AZ
October 11, 2011 - There was a question regarding red Tecomas but I see no way to make a comment directly to that. There are indeed red Tecomas on the market one being Tecoma x 'Bells of Fire' tm and ppaf. I am the ...
view the full question and answer

Removal of non-native invasive Ligustrum japonica from Austin
February 14, 2012 - I bought a house that I am slowly turning into a native garden, but as a teacher, I have a really small budget. One entire border of my backyard (30 feet) was planted with evil Ligustrum japonica. I l...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center