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?

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


Yellow thistle
Cirsium horridulum

Yellow thistle
Cirsium horridulum

Yellow thistle
Cirsium horridulum

More Plant Identification Questions

Plants of Texas Coastal Bend beaches
November 27, 2013 - What plants are native to the Texas Coastal Bend beaches?
view the full question and answer

Plant ID at the Wildflower Center from Austin
June 18, 2012 - I was at the Wildflower Center today and loved the green plants with delicate white flowers that were in both clay pots in front of the auditorium. Please let me know the name of the plants.
view the full question and answer

Invasive vine with yellow flowers in Austin
June 21, 2015 - What is the invasive vine in Austin that has wire like stems and small leaves. It just blossomed huge yellow flowers this spring. It climbs cliff, trees, bldgs., etc.
view the full question and answer

Identification of a mint-like plant in California
July 21, 2013 - I found a plant growing near my apricot (in Fresno, California). It has a square stem which becomes more rounded toward the base. The leaves are smooth, opposite, and they have three to five leaflets ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of shrub/small tree with small purple fruit
July 31, 2013 - Hi! I have a tree/bush that has come up on its own in the backyard. This year it set what looks like small purple plums. Is there any chance that they might be poisonous?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center