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

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

Identity of red flower that looks like a blue bell
May 31, 2013 - Looking for the name of a flower that grows in Breckinridge county Kentucky. It's looks similar to the blue bell but blood red in color. Any help is appreciated.
view the full question and answer

Identification of alien-looking plant
June 06, 2013 - I have a plant that grows 4-5 feet tall, it has pretty "alien looking" flowers with "pods" under flower, and marijuana looking leaves and smell. My neighbor gave me a start last year, and it has ...
view the full question and answer

Identity of 50 ft. tree
May 20, 2008 - I live in Austin and I have a tall (50-ft) tree outside my window. It's deciduous and has shiny, deep green, spear-tip, serrated leaves that vary in size from about hand- to dinner-plate size. I've ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of thorny plant in Michigan
June 16, 2008 - i live in southern michigan and have a thorny plant with oval leaves growing in my flower beds. this used to be a grassy area how did it get there. i live on the edge of town. what plants in my area h...
view the full question and answer

Identification of yellow flowers in Wisconsin
June 19, 2012 - We have plants near Madison, Wisconsin that some call lanceleaf coreoposis however I believe they are some type of invasive species. They have yellow flowers, seem to spread by seed. and don't grown ...
view the full question and answer

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