En EspaŅol

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
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

Saturday - September 04, 2010

From: Kemp, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

Please identify this tree: has leaves like a catalpa, blue/lavender flowers on a long flower spike at the end of the limb, green fruit/seed about the size of a pecan it is fuzzy like a peach with a hard shell underneath the fuzz. There is a star shaped cap where the fruit attaches to the stem and the other end of the fruit is very pointed. I have seen it in a commercial landscape and at a residence.

ANSWER:

This sounds like Paulownia tomentosa (princesstree), an invasive species from China.  Here is a link to more photos.  If this isn't the tree you saw, try to get photos of it and send them to us and we will do our best to identify it.  Visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page to read instructions for submitting photos. 

However, if this does appear to be the tree you saw and you were considering purchasing and planting one, we would urge you to please reconsider and plant, instead, one of the beautiful trees that are native to your area, such as:

Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud)

Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)

Sassafras albidum (sassafras)

Catalpa speciosa (northern catalpa)

Here are photos from our Image Gallery:


Cercis canadensis

Cornus florida

Cornus florida

Sassafras albidum

Catalpa speciosa

 

 

 

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Grapevine at the Wildflower Center
November 05, 2013 - Hello :) I recently visited the Lady Bird Wildflower Center for Goblins in the Garden. I'm curious if you all know exactly what type of grape is growing in the back of the garden near the "Heali...
view the full question and answer

Identificaation of volunteer plant in Maine
July 31, 2007 - I have a volunteer in my garden in Maine that I have been unable to identify. It is a perennial that grows in full sun. It has formed a thick mat of plants whose leaves are about and its leaves are d...
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

Identity of an Astragalus species near Terlingua, TX
May 14, 2013 - I have been photographing as many of the wildflowers that I can this Spring 2013 season here in the Big Bend Area between BBNP, Terlingua and Alpine, TX. Two days ago I took a drive from Terlingua to ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of ivy-like plant with large purplish leaves.
March 27, 2015 - Can you ID this ivy-like growing plant with a big purplish elephant ear type leaf and a big green stem pouch?
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center