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

Tuesday - May 30, 2006

From: Norfolk, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Existence of plant named
Answered by: Joe Marcus and Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

My mother's middle name is Orabelle - "beautiful seacoast." Some variations are "Orabel" and "Ord." Is there a plant that is so named and where might I be able to purchase it? I live in Norfolk, Virginia.

ANSWER:

That beautiful name does sound like it should be shared by a lovely flower, but no genus, species, subspecies, or varietal name like that currently exists, according to the International Plant Names Index, a standard reference for looking up scientific plant names.

It seems more likely that a horticultural cultivar would receive an evocative female name, and we did find a mention in an academic journal of a German cultivar of winter rapeseed called Brassica napus ssp. oleifera 'Orabel'. Rapeseed is a plant in the mustard family from which we get canola oil. Unfortunately, the journal only mentioned it in passing as part of a list of German rapeseed cultivars. There was no picture of it and we haven't found more information about it, but it wasn't bred for looks so I doubt it's what you had in mind.

My guess is that there may well have been ornamental cultivars with the name 'Orabelle' or 'Orabel' in the nineteenth century, when those names were more common than they are now. Finding records of that could be daunting, as various kinds of cultivated plants have their own International Cultivar Registration Authority organizations through which new cultivars are registered. It might take contacting some of these Registration Authorities to find out if any cultivars ever carried your mother's name.

For more on plant naming conventions, see this summary.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identity of plant with white flowers and serrated leaves in creek bed
September 17, 2012 - I have a wild fall blooming plant, white flowers, serrated leaves. Growing abundantly in my dry creek bed. Any thoughts?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
July 22, 2013 - I've lived at my apartment complex for a year now and this current spring/summer I noticed the grounds keeper leaving a fern like plant that is approx. 1-2 feet tall and approx. 1 foot wide. It's le...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower in southeastern Pennsylvania
May 20, 2008 - I live in southeastern Pennsylvania and want to identify a wild flower that is common along small town and rural roads and highways. It is blooming now (Mid May), has a flower spike similar to a larks...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification site
May 17, 2010 - Is there a site I can use to identify plants by photos of leaves, flowers, berries etc? I found a plant in my yard I cannot identify. The nursery near us could not identify it. It has some groups/clus...
view the full question and answer

Purple wildflowers near Lake Tahoe
November 30, 2009 - I have been tasked with a challenge to find the plant that is "dark purple wild flowers at Lake Tahoe and are a magnificent thing to see in the fall. Interestingly, these wild mountain lake flowers w...
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