Explore Plants

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
    
 

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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - August 18, 2010

From: Chicago, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant ID from Chicago
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

This plant is VERY common along highways across the entire midwest, and often other parts of the country. It has a long stem with a cluster of white flowers usually only on the top of the stem. The leaves are frayed and very thin. I was introduced to the plant. If you chew it and leave it on your tongue, it makes your tongue numb, and I was told that the plant can used as an anaestetic. I would instantly recognize an up-close picture of this plant, but I very much want to know its name and information. Thank you!

ANSWER:

We love identifying native plants for folks! Do you have a picture of a plant found growing in the wild somewhere in North America and you would like to know its name? Send us an email following the instructions below. Please do not send pictures of house plants, office plants, garden plants, plants seen on your vacation to Costa Rica or other clearly non-native species. For identification of non-native plants you might consider visiting the UBC Botanical Gardens Forums website.
  1. Tell us where and when you found the plant and describe the site where it occurred.
  2. If possible, take several high-resolution images including details of leaves, stems, flowers, fruit, and the overall plant.
  3. Save images in JPEG format. Do not reduce the resolution of your images. High-resolution images are much easier for us to work with.
  4. Send email with images attached to id@smartyplants.org. Please enter Plant ID Request on the subject line of your email.
 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of spiny plant in Yucca Mesa, CA
March 02, 2011 - I have a very prickly bush on my property near Yucca Mesa, CA, (high desert). 2 to 3 feet high. Branches mostly starting from the center near ground. Lots of 1 to 2 inch spines on branches. Dormant in...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID from North Carolina
August 16, 2010 - Hi Mr. Smartyplants, I know that you can identify blue cohash in a neat way: 3 stems which easy branch to 3 more stems which each branch into 3 more and then 3 leaves attached to each. Well, do you...
view the full question and answer

Identity of a plant in SE Georgia
May 06, 2009 - Identity of a plant- This plant is growing wild in SE GA, but I have never seen it before until this year. The plant has a stolon "root" system it forms an upright stem and a cluster of flowers begi...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
May 19, 2009 - I found a large shrub/tree behind an old building on my place. It has small smooth oval leaves 3/4-1 inch; x 1/2 inch, small somewhat clusters of a blue fruit 1/4-1/2 inch diam with one seed in it. Ca...
view the full question and answer

Identification of vine with hair-like prickles
January 04, 2013 - Trying to find out what kind of vine I ran into yesterday while climbing a deer stand. While pushing limbs and vines down from around me, I noticed hair-like thorns stuck in my sleeves and hands. This...
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.