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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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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.

 
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Tuesday - April 03, 2012

From: Cocoa, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification in Florida
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, I have a plant that I bought at a local nursery (now closed). It only came with a label that read "Sun". The plant has many long willowy stems coming up from the ground, green saw-notched leaves, and tiny white buds in clusters. When the buds become flowers, the white flowers are small but very distinctive. They have 3-4 long string-like protrusions on the outside, making them look like feathers. These flowers are arranged in a circle and each set of "feathers" fan out. I have taken it to the local nursery club and they have no idea. Also tried searching your wonderful site but doesn't seem that anyone has asked before. Thank you so kindly for considering my questions.

ANSWER:

Since you bought the plant at a local nursery and very few nurseries carry native plants, I suspect it isn't a plant native to North America.   Our focus and expertise here at the Wildflower Center are with plants native to North America so we aren't going to be a help with non-native cultivars.  However, I did look for some native plants that showed a match to at least some of the features you mentioned.  Take a look at these:

Actaea pachypoda (White baneberry) and here are photos and more information from Southeastern Flora.

Aruncus dioicus (Bride's feathers) and here are photos and more information from Southeastern Flora.

Baccharis halimifolia (Groundseltree) and here are photos and more information from Southeastern Flora.

Fothergilla gardenii (Dwarf witchalder) and here are photos and more information from Southeastern Flora.

Mitella diphylla (Twoleaf miterwort) and here are photos and more information from Southeastern Flora and still more photos from Missouri Plants.

Phacelia fimbriata (Fringed phacelia) and here are photos and more information from Southeastern Flora.

Silene stellata (Starry campion) and here are photos and more information from Southeastern Flora.

You should do a search yourself in the Southeastern Flora database using flower color for your search.

You should also do a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database selecting "Florida" from the Select State or Province option and "white" under Bloom Color.  You can also limit the search by Habit (general appearance), Size Characteristics, etc.

If none of the plants above are your plant and you don't find it in one of the searches suggested, you can visit our Plant Identification page to find links to plant identification forums that will accept photos for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


White baneberry
Actaea pachypoda

White baneberry
Actaea pachypoda

Bride's feathers
Aruncus dioicus

Bride's feathers
Aruncus dioicus

Groundseltree
Baccharis halimifolia

Fringed phacelia
Phacelia fimbriata

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