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

Thursday - November 04, 2010

From: Hinsdale, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am trying to figure out what this plant is..It has light feathery leaves like dill. It is an annual in the midwest. Height 5-6 feet tall. Stalk is about 3 inches wide with branches that are 2 feet long. It has turned bright red this autumn and the seeds are tiny and brown. Could it be anise? Do you have any suggestions?

ANSWER:

It is rarely possible to identify a plant from a description alone; however, one native plant does come to mind.  This is Eupatorium capillifolium (Dog fennel).  The stalks can turn reddish in the fall.  Here are links to photos from the School of Biological Sciences, University of Texas, Virginia Tech Weed ID Guide, Alabama Plants, University of Florida Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants and the USDA Plants Database.  The USDA Plants Database doesn't show it occurring in Illinois but it is recorded in Missouri and Kentucky.  If this isn't your plant, you might consider taking photos and submitting them to one or more of the Plant Identification forums listed on our Plant Identification page.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identity of vines in Florida
October 30, 2012 - Hello, I have 2 different types of vines growing in my shrubs. They are very pretty and I like them I just want to know if they are poisonous or if they will take over my shrubs. I have not been able ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of daisy-like yellow flower
March 12, 2012 - Georgetown, TX - I have two flowers blooming in my field that I can't identify. One is strong gold and the other strong orange. I cannot identify the leaf pad. There are no leaves on the stem which...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
April 04, 2010 - Just blooming out here in the Austin metro is a square-budded yellow 'daisy' with puffy center. Very like a Huisache Daisy, but the margins aren't so toothed. It's VERY common in the Austin greens...
view the full question and answer

Searching for a dye made from a French weed
June 09, 2009 - Dear Mr smarty plants, I watched a gardening show on cable and they talked about a place in France where they use a weed called Wod to make dye and dye fabric and several other items to sell. It was ...
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant with purple flower and tomato-like fruit
April 24, 2012 - Along the Lake Erie shoreline in Buffalo there is a summer blooming plant with a purple flower and hard flattened tomato like fruit, diameter of a quarter. It has pretty small green leaves with fine ...
view the full question and answer

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