En Español

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?


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 - April 07, 2011

From: Garden Ridge, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Comal County, Texas. Trying to identify a plant found growing in Comal Co. It was growing along the ground, with long, spiky leaves, and a ball of green flowers with a dark purple/brown 5 pointed star in the center. A white ball is at then end of each star point. Bloom has a nice, soft lilac fragrance. Have picture if necessary for ID.


This sounds like Asclepias asperula (Spider milkweed).  Other common names are Antelope Horns and Green-flowered milkweed.  The only part of your description that doesn't match my experience with this plant is its fragrance.  I've never been aware that it has a pleasant scent.   Here are photos and information from Texas AgriLife Research and Extension at Uvalde, the Image Archive of Central Texas Plants from the School of Biological Sciences, University of Texas and from Asclepias.org.  These plants are one of the milkweed hosts for the monarch butterfly larvae.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery:

Asclepias asperula

Asclepias asperula

Asclepias asperula

Asclepias asperula



More Plant Identification Questions

Natural location of Ceanothus impressus in California
May 21, 2006 - Where is Ceanothus impressus 'victoria' native? I need as specific as you can. Thanks much.
view the full question and answer

Bee-friendly bush with small yellow flowers in Minnesota
August 04, 2015 - I was up north in Minnesota and saw a bee friendly bush with small yellow flowers clustered so they looked like small (4"-6") flocked Christmas trees. Any ideas? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Invasive spreading weed in Michigan that looks like a small pine tree
July 29, 2013 - I have an invasive spreading weed in my gardens. It has black root system, comes up looking like a small pine tree. The green breaks off when you try to pull it.
view the full question and answer

Photographing and Identifying trees of Long Island
June 01, 2013 - After being in a car accident I got into photography as sports are a distant memory due to my injuries. As a new hobby I thought of taking pictures of trees and then finding out their species name. ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of vine with green flowers
May 23, 2012 - Trying to identify a vine with 5-petaled ~1 cm dia green flowers (w/ barely perceptible white & black speckles). I have 3 photos I can send (showing flowers & leaves). The flower petals are almost...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center