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

Wednesday - June 01, 2011

From: Little Elm, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identity of yellow thistle-like plant
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr.Smarty Plants, I see this flower along the road but I can't seem to find it on your website. It looks like a yellow thistle and it is a panicle and a head. It is about a foot tall. Do you know what it's name is? Cordially.

ANSWER:

I think the best bet for your plant that looks like a yellow thistle is Centaurea melitensis (Malta star-thistle).  You won't find it in our Native Plant Database since it is a non-native invasive plant introduced from Europe and North Africa.  It has been reported from many states and provinces in North America.  Although it hasn't been reported specifically from Denton County, it has been reported from nearby Ellis County.  Here are more photos.

There is a native thistle, Cirsium horridulum (Yellow thistle), that you will find in our database.  It has been reported in Denton County.  It isn't always yellow, however, and usually grows considerably taller than one foot.  Here are some photos of this thistle with yellow, rather than pink, blossoms.

If one of these isn't the plant you have seen, you can find links on our Plant Identification page to plant forums where you can submit photos (if you have them) for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


Bristle thistle
Cirsium horridulum

Bristle thistle
Cirsium horridulum

Bristle thistle
Cirsium horridulum

More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of trees in Georgetown and Austin area from Chilton TX
April 24, 2011 - I recently visited Georgetown,Texas and the Austin, Texas area. There were many multi-trunk trees in yards and in landscaping at the hotel we stayed at. What kind of trees are these multi-trunk tr...
view the full question and answer

Identification of stinging plant in Central Texas
July 02, 2012 - I live on 15 acres on Nameless Road. When walking on property, occasionally my leg/ankle brushes against some plant that "stings" me. Like little needles in my skin. Doesn't last long, but becau...
view the full question and answer

Looking for name of fragrant, night-blooming plant with flower resembling gardenia
January 05, 2008 - The plant that I am looking for is a night bloomer, strong scented and has leaves and flowers similar to gardenia. I have seen a picture of the plant but not the actually plant. Can you give me an id...
view the full question and answer

Iris brevicaulis in Southwest Michigan
April 22, 2007 - We live in Kalamazoo, MI (Southwest Michigan Zone 6) and discovered last year that we have an iris brevicaulis (we think) growing (and very pretty) on our property. It has the "zig zag" stem. It see...
view the full question and answer

Identification of Queen Anne's Lace look-alike
May 13, 2013 - I am trying to identify a plant/weed that grows here in Austin but I haven't found an exact match in your databases. It looks very similar to Queen Anne's lace and to your photos of yarrow but the l...
view the full question and answer

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