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

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

 

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
June 01, 2010 - I was walking in the woods, near Dresden Michigan yesterday, in a deer friendly area, where we came upon a grouping of large, umbrella leaved plants, seemed to be interconnected and only one foot high...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant with small lilac flowers in Laredo
May 14, 2013 - Need help identifying the following: small lilac flowers in a cluster with seed pods, unpleasant scent which can be up to 3 feet tall ..wild flower or weed? am interested if it attracts hummingbirds...
view the full question and answer

Observation of Kalmia angustifolia in George Washington National Forest in Virginia
March 19, 2015 - On Feb. 7th, 2015 I observed a variety Kalmia on the crest of a ridge, recently burned off, in the George Washington National Forest. I think it may be sheep laurel (Kalmia angustiflora), which coloni...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
October 06, 2009 - We have a large bush type plant, about 4 feet tall, fragant voilet flowers, large dark green leaves and spiney seed pods (about the size of golf balls) that have many seeds inside. They started growi...
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree with fuschia berries in Pennsylvania
October 26, 2008 - Northeastern Pennsylvania tree with fuschia berries in autumn. Found one in woods,never saw one before.
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center