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

Identification of a Kerry bush on Cape Cod
May 20, 2010 - I think the "bush" is called a Kerry bush - grows wild on Cape Cod - has little yellow "rose-like" flowers. - Is this the correct name and how can I make it thrive in New Hampshire?
view the full question and answer

Identification of orange hydrangea-like flower
April 19, 2008 - I am trying to identify a tree...It is a tree like bush if that makes any sense...It has tree limbs and it is bushy like a bush...I thought it might be a hydrangea bush that grows straight up instead ...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
July 14, 2011 - What is the common purple flower found in fields that has a yellow flattened oval berry like pod after blooming? Leaves are grayish green. I am thinking in the nightshade family? It is a bane to a pas...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID from San Anselmo CA
June 12, 2012 - I have a spreading ground cover that no one has been able to ID in years of searching. I have taken photos of flower and foliage. I want to ID to try to improve site conditions and increase covera...
view the full question and answer

Identity of pink bell-shaped flowers in Kansas
June 01, 2013 - I have a beautiful array of pink bell shaped flowers with a white shaping on the inside of them they are about 2 feet tall. I cant seem to figure out what they are.
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
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center