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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 10, 2012

From: Salado, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of blue flower
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have two similar (but obviously different) wild flowers growing on my property. I have pictures of each. What email address can I use to send them to you to identify? I thought one was blue-eyed grass, until the other bloomed. Now it seems fairly obvious that first is not b.e.g. and the other is unknown. (I've looked in several field guides with no success.) Thanks for your help.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants would love to be able to accept photographs for identification.   Unfortunately, we don't have enough staff or volunteers to do this anymore.  We were overwhelmed with photos and requests for identification.  Please visit our Plant Identification page for links to several plant identification forums that will, however, accept photos for identification.

Using your description and assuming that the flowers were blue (even if they weren't blue-eyed grass), I will offer some possibilities for your two flowers: 

Herbertia lahue (Prairie nymph)

Nemastylis geminiflora (Prairie celestials)

Androstephium caeruleum (Androstephium)

Amsonia ciliata (Fringed bluestar)

Nemophila phacelioides (Baby blue-eyes)

Alophia drummondii (Propeller flower)

Camassia scilloides (Atlantic camas)

Delphinium carolinianum (Carolina larkspur)

Giliastrum incisum (Split-leaf gilia)

Nuttallanthus texanus (Texas toad-flax)

Phacelia patuliflora (Blue phacelia)

Triodanis coloradoensis (Colorado venus' looking-glass)

Triodanis perfoliata (Clasping venus' looking-glass)

Tinantia anomala (False dayflower)

To see more possibilities, you can search in our Native Plant Database for blue flowers that bloom in Texas in the spring by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH choosing "Texas" from Select State or Province; "Herb" under Habit (general appearance); "March", "April", and "May" under Bloom Time; and "Blue" under Bloom Color.  Since Texas is a large place with many differenct eco-regions, all the blue flowers that will result from that search won't necessarily be ones that occur in Central Texas.   If you see one that you think might be one of the flowers you saw, you can check the distribution map on the USDA Plants Database by scrolling down the species page in our Native Plant Database to the ADDITONAL RESOURCES section near the bottom of the page.  Click on the USDA link and then click on Texas on the distribution map to see which counties in Texas have reported the plant.  The plants listed above were found in or within two counties of Bell County.

 

From the Image Gallery


Prairie nymph
Herbertia lahue

Prairie celestials
Nemastylis geminiflora

Blue funnel-lily
Androstephium coeruleum

Fringed bluestar
Amsonia ciliata

Texas baby blue eyes
Nemophila phacelioides

Propeller flower
Alophia drummondii

Atlantic camas
Camassia scilloides

Prairie larkspur
Delphinium carolinianum

Split-leaf gilia
Giliastrum incisum

Texas toad-flax
Nuttallanthus texanus

Blue phacelia
Phacelia patuliflora

Colorado venus' looking-glass
Triodanis coloradoensis

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