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
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

Flower with spike of yellow flowers with hairy purple filaments
July 03, 2012 - Fuzzy purple stamens! I can't find this plant identified anywhere. Blooms abt 1" or a little more across. 5 yellow petals, 5 sepals, & 5 stamens with yellow anthers, & the filaments are covered wi...
view the full question and answer

Picture for plant identification from Danville PA
May 30, 2013 - Is there a way that I could send a picture of a plant for identification?
view the full question and answer

Identity of vining plants in yard in Texas
May 08, 2015 - I have vining plants in my back-yard, here when I bought the house, that, from what I have been able to find on-line, look like poison sumac, however, I know they are not. Leaf shape, color, and appe...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
September 21, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, Hopefully you can help identify the following plant. I've had a bush type of weed growing near my hay feeder for the cows this year that's about 2' tall has massive spikes o...
view the full question and answer

Differences between Lantana urticoides and Lantana camara
July 13, 2012 - I have found an orange variety of lantana growning in several location in Jefferson County. Is there any way I can tell for sure if it is L. camara or the native L. urticoides?
view the full question and answer

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