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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 - June 16, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification for Westcave Preserve
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Green greetings! In the canyon at Westcave Preserve last month, I saw a plant I don't know: low, broadish leaves (with rounded edges as I recall); very tall, delicate stems with tiny white flowers spaced rather far apart (not spikes); a very airy, enchanting looking thing. Our guide did not know it, either -- any ideas? Thank you and keep up the great work, you folks absolutely rock!

ANSWER:

Green greetings to you, too, and thank you for your kind comments.  

I just happen to have an 'official' list of the plants of Westcave Preserve and I thought this would be an easy question to answer.  It wasn't as easy as I thought, but I've come up with some possibilities that are on that list.  The two most likely possibilities are ones that would grow in the canyon near the side of the creek.  They are Samolus ebracteatus ssp. cuneatus (Limerock brookweed) and Samolus valerandi ssp. parviflorus (Seaside brookweed)Here is a link to more photos of the two.

Another creekside possibility is the non-native Nasturtium officinale (watercress).

Just in case your plant isn't one of the above, here are a few more plants that occur at Westcave Preserve that sound somewhat similar to your description:

 Heliotropium tenellum (Pasture heliotrope)

Chaetopappa asteroides (Arkansas leastdaisy)

Draba cuneifolia (Wedgeleaf draba)

 Geum canadense (White avens)

Stenaria nigricans var. nigricans (Diamondflowers)

Here are some photos from our Image Gallery:


Samolus ebracteatus ssp. cuneatus


Samolus ebracteatus ssp. cuneatus


Samolus valerandi ssp. parviflorus


Heliotropium tenellum


Chaetopappa asteroides


Draba cuneifolia


Geum canadense


Stenaria nigricans var. nigricans

 

 

 

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