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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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Wednesday - July 13, 2011

From: Las Vegas, NV
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Plant Identification, Shrubs
Title: Identification of shrub with purple flowers in Las Vegas, Nevada
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Large purple flower shrub, flowers are on long stems. Round flowers with green leaves on the stalks, used as front yard landscaping in a new house in Las Vegas NV. Very drought tolerant, shrub grows to at least 3 feet high. Looks somewhat similar to purple amaranth but purple flowers are at the end of large stalks. Flowers turn a dull purple during summer but do not dry out and fall off. Looking for name of shrub, we want to know if we should cut off the old flowers to promote new ones or just leave the flowers alone.

ANSWER:

In our Native Plant Database I did a COMBINATION SEARCH choosing "Nevada" from the Select State or Province option, "Shrub" from Habit (general appearance) and "Violet", "Purple", "Blue" and "Pink" from Bloom Characteristics–Bloom Color.  I did two more searches substituting "Subshrub" and "Herb" for "Shrub" in the search.  Unfortunately, I could find nothing that matched your description.  That, plus the fact that you describe it as a landscape plant, makes me believe that it is probably a non-native ornamental plant.  Our focus and expertise here at the Wildflower Center are with plants native to North America so we can't really identify or tell you too much about non-natives.  However, you can visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that can help identify plants, both native and non-native.   If you have a photo, you can send it to one of these for identification.  Another possibility is to try contacting the Southern Area Master Gardener Program of the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.  If it is a fairly common landscaping plant in Las Vegas, someone with the Master Gardener program is likely to know its name.

 

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