Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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

Thursday - November 17, 2011

From: Norfolk, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of perennial with dark red/purple flowers
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Need to identify a lovely perennial here in Norfolk, Virginia. It reseeds itself, spreads, and lingers into the late fall. It has rather thick, dark green, alternate spatulate leaves at the base with thin stalks of tiny lovely dark red/purple flowers which look like small beads. Total height is about 18 inches. The "beads" come off the main stalk in alternate arrangements with each bead occupying an end of a fine, hair-like "branch." It is very shallow rooted and the leaves and base are very tender and easily snapped. I was told it was "Jewels of the Nile," but it is not a hosta or the large blue "Jewel of the Nile." I have photos which I can forward if desired. Thank you!

ANSWER:

Searching for your plant, I did a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database and selected "Virginia" from the Select State or Province option, "Herb" from Habit (general appearance), "September", "October" and "November" from Bloom Time and "Red" and "Purple" from Bloom Color.  This resulted in 98 plants native to Virginia, but none of them appeared to match your description.   You should try doing the search yourself to see if, perhaps, I missed it; but, I suspect that your plant is not a North American native.  Since our expertise and focus here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is with North American native plants, we are not the best source for identifying cultivated non-native plants.  If you visit our Plant Identification page, you will find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos for identification.  However, the best option would probably be to contact the Norfolk Master Gardener Association and/or the Norfolk Botanical Garden—sources closer to you that would have expertise in cultivated plants of your area.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of pale blue flower near Big Bend, TX
March 14, 2013 - I have looked almost everywhere in order to ID this bloom with no luck. Some blooms do arrive close but not quite. I live just outside of Big Bend National Park in Terlingua, TX. On a hike into Dog Ca...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
July 29, 2009 - I have a plant that came up in a flower pot.I wonder if you could hep me.The plant has six leaves to a stem and the leaves close up at night
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree with orange flowers in Mississippi
June 01, 2013 - Saw beautiful Orange colored flowers on a tree in Jackson MI. Can't find one that is hardy in our zone. It looked to be about the size and shape of an apple tree. What could it be?
view the full question and answer

Identification of wildflowers in Wyoming
July 15, 2007 - I have taken some photos of wildflowers in Wyoming and although I have looked in several books and this website, I am still unable to identify a few. 1) very small white and lt. blue flower with 5 sep...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
November 30, 2010 - I have had a plant for 37 years! It is a vine with leaves that grow in groups of three and they typically have 5 points. The leaves are dark green and shiny. I would love to know what this old friend ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.