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
3 ratings

Tuesday - July 05, 2011

From: Roanoke, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Plant identification of shrub with thorns and purple flowers
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a small tree or shrub, it has very small or thin thorns on the branches. It blooms in April / May. The flowers are purple. My mother-in-law said that it has been around for over 100 years, but she can not recall the name. Can you help?

ANSWER:

Well, maybe.  So far I haven't been able to find your plant although I've consulted with several people about it and searched our Native Plant Database for it.  If it is a North American native plant (although I have my doubts) you might recognize it in our Native Plant Database.  You, yourself, can do a COMBINATION SEARCH choosing 'Indiana' from Select State or Province, 'Shrub' or 'Tree' from Habit (general appearance) and 'Pink', 'Blue', 'Purple' and 'Violet' from Bloom Characteristics–Color.  You will need to do two searches—one using 'Shrub' and the other using 'Tree'. If you can't find it in our Native Plant Database, it is likely that your tree or shrub is an introduced ornamental. Since our focus and expertise are with plants native to North America, we won't be able to help you identify introduced ornamentals.  For introduced ornamentals we recommend that you take photos of the plant and submit them to one of the plant identification forums whose links are on our Plant Identification page.  Be sure that you read the notes about submitting images for identification.   Good luck finding the identity of your plant.

 

More Trees Questions

Source for dwarf red mulberry from Spring Hill TN
December 08, 2012 - Hello: Where can I buy a dwarf red mulberry tree in the USA? Thanks
view the full question and answer

Problems with October Glory maple tree in Evansville IN
June 10, 2010 - We have a 15 yr. old October Glory maple tree. 2 years ago we had a bad ice storm and this tree was covered with 1/2 to 3/4 " of ice. The tree resembled a chicken wishbone with its limbs touching ...
view the full question and answer

Existing live oak taking over in Monahans TX
March 22, 2011 - I have just purchased a home with a huge Live Oak tree in the front yard. The previous owners have over the years allowed the sucker roots to grow unchecked. The tree is shading most of the lawn (di...
view the full question and answer

Pecan with brown spots on the leaves
June 11, 2010 - Southern pecan, I am a 8 foot tall and 3 year old (young)tree. My leafs have brown spots on top and hard shell mound on the bottom, this is on about 3/4 of the of the leafs, could you tell me what th...
view the full question and answer

Problems with rusty blackhaw viburnum in Austin
May 07, 2010 - I have a four foot rusty blackhaw viburnum. Last summer the leaves turned reddish and in the late summer most of them fell off. This February the plant started to leaf out and then bloomed. It has ...
view the full question and answer

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