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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
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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.
 

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