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 - 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

Difference between Convallaria majalis and Convallaria majuscula
May 17, 2012 - How do you tell the difference in the native convallaria from the European species?
view the full question and answer

Identification of Spaeralcea sp. Globe Mallow
March 31, 2008 - Let's do it again....my computer had some "issues" and I lost your answer.... I purchased a mallow from the WFC about two years ago...I was told at the time they had not yet identified the plant...
view the full question and answer

Want to know the name of a string looking moss in OR.
August 02, 2011 - I want to know the name of a string looking moss or Licha that grows on pine trees? Thought was old mans whiskers, but this search brings up a flower; not what I am looking for. I found some in Glacie...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower in southeastern Pennsylvania
May 20, 2008 - I live in southeastern Pennsylvania and want to identify a wild flower that is common along small town and rural roads and highways. It is blooming now (Mid May), has a flower spike similar to a larks...
view the full question and answer

Identity of vine with green flowers
November 03, 2012 - What is this trailing plant with half inch green flowers with gold metallic centers? Looks like a milkweed plant or gourd plant of some kind. I found it off Hamilton Pool road. West of Austin TX
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