En Español

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?


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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - August 19, 2011

From: Oklahoma City, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of daisy-like wildflower in New Mexico
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I recently visited Angel Fire, NM and I cannot identify the daisy-like wildflower that was growing there. August seemed to be the favorite time for this flower. I asked the local nursery and they thought it was from the cosmos family. The flower was all over and near the road on the side of a hill, would grow only 4 inches in well traveled areas and yet in areas where it wasn't trampled it would grow maybe three feet.


You realize, probably, that the Family Asteraceae (Aster Family) with all the daisy-like species has the greatest number of species of all the flowering plant families with over 20,000 species.  Of course, they don't all grow in New Mexico, but the state has a large number.   So, it isn't too likely I could identify this flower you describe.   However, I can give you some help in figuring out what it is.  Here are some possibilities:

1.  Go to our Native Plant Database and, in the green box, scroll down the family list until you find Asteraceae (Aster Family).  Select it and click on "go".  This will give a list of more than 1000 North American species on our database.  Next use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option in the sidebar to select "New Mexico" from Select State or Province and "Aug" from Bloom Time.  You didn't say what color the flower is, but I'm guessing it is yellow.   You can select the color under Bloom Color.  This will narrow your choices down to 138 species of Asteraceae to look at that are yellow and bloom in August in New Mexico.  Maybe you can recognize it by looking through the choices.

2.  Visit the Native Plant Society of New Mexico website.   Look at their links under "Native Plants" for photos of flowers in the New Mexico area.   You could also contact them and give them a description (be sure to tell them the color of the flowers).  Since they are in the state, they will know what is blooming in profusion there right now.

3.  Visit our Plant Identification page.   There are links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos for identification if you have them.


More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of Tacoma stans or Yellow Bells
September 05, 2006 - We have seen a plant along the freeway here in Round Rock...beautiful greens leaves and the most amazing yellow flowers. Someone told us it was an esperanza plant and drought tolerate; however, I can...
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant that smells like passion fruits at Westcave
September 07, 2012 - Green greetings! I saw a plant in the canyon at Westcave Preserve last weekend. They are small bushes with elliptic leaves. They are impressive because the leaves smell like passion fruits. Do you hav...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a vine with purple flowers
July 06, 2011 - I'm trying to identify a vine-like plant growing in my yard to determine if it is a weed or should be kept around. It has small purple flowers with a small yellow center, looking like a mini honeysuc...
view the full question and answer

Is this a sycamore tree in Houston TX?
July 13, 2009 - I believe I have a 6 year old American Sycamore planted in front of my condo. There are no seed pods (balls) ever on this tree. I thought all Sycamores have those. Is my tree too young to produce the ...
view the full question and answer

Grapevine at the Wildflower Center
November 05, 2013 - Hello :) I recently visited the Lady Bird Wildflower Center for Goblins in the Garden. I'm curious if you all know exactly what type of grape is growing in the back of the garden near the "Heali...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center