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?


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


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.


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

Problems with non-native bi-color iris from Spring Branch TX
August 18, 2011 - Bi colored iris. I have four plants planted around our water feature last fall. Up until recently they all looked very healthy, yet not blooming. Several weeks ago I noticed that two of the plants ...
view the full question and answer

Care for indoor Lemon Cypress
November 30, 2008 - How do I care for an indoor Lemon Cypress tree?
view the full question and answer

Identification of non-native wildflower
August 20, 2007 - I am a painter and I need your help. When I was in Pecatonica, Illinois recently I saw a very beautiful blue colored wildflower. I was amazed by its beauty but didn't have a camera with me to take a ...
view the full question and answer

Black fungus on non-native ixora from Palm Beach Gardens FL
January 29, 2011 - We have 7-8 ixora plants that are side by side and all have developed a black fungus or substance on them. The substance is not only on the plant, but has spread to the wall they are adjacent to. Ca...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Centaurium spicatum, family gentianceae
January 21, 2008 - I need to know every single detail about centaurium spicatum family gentianceae.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center