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 30, 2011

From: Arlee, MT
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification for Montana
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am in forestry and work by Flathead Lake MT. I came across a wildflower and cannot I.D. it. Two come close..the Low Larkspur and Mountain Bog Gentian. It is blue/purple, 5 rounded petals, leaves are opposite (2), and green/slender, stalk is green. Center is white. Flower itself about 1 in. at best. I do have a picture. It was growing in an open sw slope/pp site. about 4000 ft. in elevation..flowering in mid June.

ANSWER:

From your description I keep coming back to Gentiana calycosa (Rainier pleated gentian) which I know is also called bog gentian (or mountain bog gentian) or explorer's gentian and I think you have ruled that one out.  Here are some other possibilities based on your description: 

You might like to look through the following plant databases:  Montana Plant Life, Montana Field Guides, and Idaho Mountain Wildflowers.  You can do a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database by choosing "Montana" from Select State or Province, "Herb" from Habit (general appearance), and under Bloom Characteristics: Color select "Blue", "Purple" and "Violet".

Sorry, but we no longer accept photos of plants for identification.  We were overwhelmed with photos and didn't have enough staff and volunteers to do the research to identify the plants in the photos.  As you can read on our Plant Identification page: 

"We would love to spend all day identifying native plants for you folks! However, we already spend all day (and most of the night) answering your native plant questions. Luckily, there are some excellent forums available to help you identify those mysterious unknowns."

You can send your photos for identification to one of the links for the plant identification forums found on our Plant Identification page.

We would be very pleased to know if your unknown flower is one of the suggested ones above.

 

From the Image Gallery


Rainier pleated gentian
Gentiana calycosa

Parry's gentian
Gentiana parryi

Autumn dwarf gentian
Gentianella amarella ssp. heterosepala

Threadleaf phacelia
Phacelia linearis

Alpine bluebells
Mertensia alpina

Cusick's speedwell
Veronica cusickii

Alpine speedwell
Veronica wormskjoldii

Jacob's-ladder
Polemonium pulcherrimum

Western polemonium
Polemonium occidentale

Parry's bellflower
Campanula parryi

More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of blue wildflower on roadsides in Massachusetts
July 28, 2012 - What is the blue wildflower planted on roadsides and highways in Massachusetts?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 27, 2011 - I have a plant my Dad had found years ago. Last of April a stem with bulb shaped bottom. May 6-stem opened and folded back exposing spotted inside of leaf. Bottom had yellow pollen? and green stem 2+ ...
view the full question and answer

Identity of purple-leafed plant in formal garden in Quebec City
August 23, 2013 - I saw a plant in a formal garden in Quebec City that was low growing with purple leaves and clusters of deep purple pods/seeds about the size of grapes.
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
November 15, 2008 - Hi, I live in ne pa.i have always had a fasvorite wild flower with yellow flowers in the spring. the plant lasts all summer and fall til first frost. It gets small thin bean like seed pods that I save...
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree in Ovilla TX area
May 04, 2010 - Can you identify a tall,(wild?) tree covered with fragrant, pink/lavender blooms? Have seen several in the Ovilla area this spring.
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