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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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Tuesday - September 27, 2011

From: Mayville, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of plant on shores of Lake Erie
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

I've used Newcomb's and several other guides but cannot ID: Green small dot like flowers, found on the beach of Lake Erie in Dunkirk NY, many of them growing right in the sand. Smells very much, a tinge of lemon, sort of Artemesia-like, not entirely pleasant. Small, alternate deeply lobed leaves, blend right in with the flowers. Most of these plants are about or under a foot tall. Can you help? This is driving me nuts. Thank you! Karen

ANSWER:

We would love to help but I'm afraid we weren't able to definitively give a name to your plant.  One of us lives in your general neighborhood (Anne lives in Ontario), but the only plant she could come up with after consulting her many field guides and sources is Artemisia biennis (biennial wormwood).  Here are more photos.  My search in various references did not find anything else that looks like your description.  Since you compared the plant to an Artemisia species, you might like to look at others of that genus in the Wisconsin Plants database from the University of Wisconsin.

If this isn't the plant you saw and you have photos, please visit our Plant Identification page to find links to plant identification forums that accept photos.  You might also like to contact someone in the Finger Lakes Native Plant Society, the New York Flora Association and/or the New England Wildflower Society

Best of luck!

 

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