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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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Sunday - July 10, 2011

From: Ocoee, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification for Florida
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am looking for the name of a plant that has long stalks and wispy long leaves with large round purple flowers on the end.

ANSWER:

From the description you provided I did three COMBINATION SEARCH-es in our Native Plant Database. I chose 'Florida' from Select State or Province, 'Herb' under Habit (general appearance) and then under Bloom Characteristics-Color:  'Pink', 'Blue', 'Purple' and 'Violet' for the first search.  For the other two searches I substituted either 'Subshrub' or 'Shrub' for 'Herb' under Habit (general appearance).  You can do the same searches yourself, but I could not find a native Florida plant that fits your description.   If your plant is a plant native to Florida, it should have appeared in our database.  I also searched in several Florida and southeastern US wildflower field guides and databases (e.g., Southeastern Flora and Gallery of Florida Wildflowers) and wasn't successful in finding a match.  A little more information about the plant would have been helpful—for instance, its overall size, the setting where you saw it, if the stems are woody, how large the flowers are, how many petals each flower has, etc.).  I suspect it is an introduced ornamental plant and not native to North America.  If so, it is out of our area of expertise.   Your best bet for learning its identity is to submit a photo, if you have one, to one of the plant identification forums.  You can find links to several forums on our Plant Identification page.

 

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