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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.

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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.

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Thursday - April 07, 2011

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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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

 

 

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