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
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 Shrubs Questions

Native plants/shrubs to plant under sycamore and redbud trees
September 03, 2009 - I want to eventually get rid of our front lawn. We have a 40 year old sycamore tree and a young but well established redbud tree in the front yard. What are some good plants/shrubs to plant under the ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning blue potato tree (Lycianthus rantonnei)
July 14, 2008 - I wrote earlier about a blue potato tree(Lycianthus rantonnei) the top appears dead but if you break a branch it is still green, what would happen to it if I cut all the branches forming at the bottom...
view the full question and answer

Cottage-style landscaping for Chesapeake VA
August 02, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plant staff, I recently moved into a cottage style home that has a poured concrete/paver patio. I am trying to come up with ideas for plantings that would 1. give me a bit of privacy,...
view the full question and answer

Shallow topsoil on rocky substrate in SW Oregon
April 28, 2009 - I want to plants some shrubs and trees. Trouble is I can't plant very deep. I have mostly rock within 5 inches. Please help.
view the full question and answer

Knife Acacia or Shrubs for Austin
April 07, 2011 - Hello, Do you know if knife acacia is a suitable plant for North Austin? Does it have sharp leaves or thorns? How large and full does it get? We are looking to replace our existing pampas grass...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center