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

 
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Monday - March 12, 2012

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of daisy-like yellow flower
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Georgetown, TX - I have two flowers blooming in my field that I can't identify. One is strong gold and the other strong orange. I cannot identify the leaf pad. There are no leaves on the stem which is about 8 inches. The flower head is about 1 1/2 inch in diameter. They look like a daisy. They are a composite flower, the rays overlap at the base and have smooth edges. The disk flower is about 1/4 inch in diameter and has a very small brown center surrounded by yellow surrounded by a black ring. Can you tell me what these are. I cannot find them in any book or on your website. Thank you.

ANSWER:

It is often quite difficult to identify a plant from a description alone, even more so for yellow flowers in the Family Asteraceae (Aster Family).   Since there are so many of them with yellow flowers, it often requires the arrangement and shape of the leaves to get an identity.  That said, I will give you some possibilities and perhaps you can determine if your mystery flower is one of them:

Coreopsis basalis (Coreopsis)

Coreopsis linifolia (Texas tickseed) and you can see additional photos here

Coreopsis tinctoria (Plains coreopsis)

Engelmannia peristenia (Engelmann's daisy)

Helianthus annuus (Common sunflower)

Silphium radula (Roughstem rosinweed)

Thelesperma filifolium (Stiff greenthread)

Just for your information—because of the mild winter plus the welcome rain we have gotten since last spring and summer's severe drought, many flowers were found blooming in February that don't normally bloom then.   So, don't be surprised to see that the "Bloom Time" on the species' pages above doesn't fall in February.  As an example, here are a couple of yellow flowers that Steve Schwartzman found blooming in January and photographed for his "Portraits of Wildflowers" page:

Coreopsis tinctoria and Engelmannia peristenia

 

From the Image Gallery


Goldenmane tickseed
Coreopsis basalis

Texas tickseed
Coreopsis linifolia

Plains coreopsis
Coreopsis tinctoria

Engelmann's daisy
Engelmannia peristenia

Common sunflower
Helianthus annuus

Roughstem rosinweed
Silphium radula

Stiff greenthread
Thelesperma filifolium

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