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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.

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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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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.

 
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Thursday - June 23, 2011

From: Fairbanks, AK
Region: Northwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant Identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Anne Ruggles

QUESTION:

I live in Alaska and have TEENY cute 5 petaled white flowers growing on my lawn. They are very short, maybe 2 inches in height. The flower is about 1/2 inch wide. They look like a perfect tiny daisy. I tried to copy a picture here, but it won't let me.

ANSWER:

Here are some possibilities for your tiny daisy-like flower:

Moehringia lateriflora (Bluntleaf sandwort) [synonym=Arenaria lateriflora] and here are photos and more information.  Here is the USDA Plants Database record with the distribution map and more photos.

The next three do have 5 petals but because the petals are deeply notched it looks as if they have 10 petals. Their tiny white flowers do resemble daisies.

Cerastium arvense (Field chickweed) and here are more photos and information.

Cerastium nutans (nodding chickweed) and here are more photos and information.

Cerastium fontanum ssp. vulgare (big chickweed) and here are more photos and information.

Another possibility that does grow in Fairbanks, but in wet places (possibly not your lawn), is Saxifraga caespitosa (Tufted alpine saxifrage).  You can see photos here and here.

If none of these appear to be your little lawn daisy, please visit our Plant Identification page to find links to garden forums that do accept photos for identification.  Sorry, but Mr. Smarty Plants' database isn't set up to receive photos.

 

 

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