Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
1 rating

Saturday - August 28, 2010

From: Salida, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification of ethereal plant in Colorado
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We live in the south central mountains of Colorado in the upper Arkansas River valley near Salida, Colorado. During the past few weeks we have noticed a very mystic looking plant (flower/grass?) along the roads and trails, mixed in with other native grasses and flowers. But this plant looks like a spider web and when the sun shines on it early in the morning with dew, it appears to be "ground fog", very ethereal and unusual. There are very large patches of it, but it seems to be centered in appx. a 5 square mile area. I can't remember ever seeing it, or anyway noticing it this way, before. Ideas?

ANSWER:

Here are a few possibilities for plants in your area with an ethereal look. 

Fallugia paradoxa (Apache plume)

Elymus elymoides ssp. brevifolius (squirreltail)

Eragrostis trichodes (sand lovegrass) and here are photos.

Muhlenbergia mexicana (Mexican muhly) and here are photos.

If none of these happens to be what you are seeing, please take photos and send them to us and we will do our best to identify the plant.  Visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page to read instructions for submitting photos.  We will definitely need closeups of the plants, as well as a photo showing the overall effect of the plants, in order to be able to identify them.


Fallugia paradoxa

Elymus elymoides ssp. brevifolius

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant ID for that looks like lemon verbena
May 03, 2014 - I have a weed that looks a bit like Lemon Verbena with tiny purple flowers sprouting again this spring in my pasture. It seems to like sandy, acidy sunny areas and smells nice when you even brush up ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of two Solanum species in Thorndale, Texas
November 01, 2010 - Hi. NE of Austin in the Taylor/Rockdale area with sandy loam I have two kinds of nightshade. One has the deep rhizomes and stickers and is relatively small and weedy. The other, very similar in app...
view the full question and answer

Identity of Dalea plant
April 03, 2013 - While in Austin recently (I live in Dallas), I visited Jardinero on Cesar Chavez and purchased a shrub identified only as "Dalea". It is 3-4 feet tall, upright habit, typical tiny pea family foliag...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of vine in Virginia
September 01, 2011 - Have vine that has small 3 pointed leaves somewhat like a grape but only an inch or 2 long. Adult fruit is black or purple egg shaped and only 3/4 of an inch long. Fruit is single in the middle of th...
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree with outrageous thorns
August 10, 2014 - Can you identify this tree? It has these outrageous thorns on its trunk. They are in clusters and are anywhere from 1" long to 4" long or so.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.