En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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

Houseplant identification
October 15, 2014 - Had a houseplant with leaves that were green on the top and purplish on the bottom. The leaves were velvety to the touch. Would like to know what it was.
view the full question and answer

Mystery plant in VA
May 06, 2011 - We bought a new house with an established garden bed last fall. We have a tall single stemmed plant with long slightly twisted leaves that looks like a tall tulip plant. However, it is just starting...
view the full question and answer

Tree with bright green seeds the size of a softball
October 22, 2008 - My daughter has moved to Taylorsville,Ga and thier are trees that drop bright green seed pods that are round and the size of a soft ball. The outer skin resembles a human brain. Do you have any idea w...
view the full question and answer

Key for Verbesina virginica
June 16, 2014 - Are the stems of Verbesina virginica hairy? My in-laws have what I believe is Verbesina virginica (blooms in September here in VA) and another wild flower that blooms before it and is yellow. I'd l...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
October 01, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Ever since we received this (much needed and wonderful) rain in Austin, my gardens and yard are being swamped with these tiny, green clover-like plants. I've never seen it ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center