En EspaŅol

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?


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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - May 03, 2012

From: Louisa, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification, Ferns
Title: Plant identification from Virginia
Answered by: Nan Hampton


We found lots of asparagus like stalks growing randomly in our field here in central Virginia. But, instead of an asparagus head it has a tight cluster of leaves that are small and roundish. Any ideas? Thanks so much


This was a puzzler until I talked with a friend who suggested the leaves are small and roundish in cross section.   If that is the case, I think I have an answer for you.  I think it is one of the species of Equisetum, a relative of ferns, that occurs in Virginia.  There are three species that might fit your description:

If this isn't the plant you have seen and you do have photos of it, please visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos for identification.


From the Image Gallery

Field horsetail
Equisetum arvense

Woodland horsetail
Equisetum sylvaticum

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
July 08, 2010 - Found in a cedar swamp near Wolverine Michigan. Large dinner plate size flat green leaf on a mottled green and brown fleshy stem of about 8 or 10 inches. I first thought it was a tri-leaf plant but it...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
August 16, 2008 - I walk in a wooded area. There is a plant with large spade like leaves.It grow to about 4 to 6 ft. In other areas it has grown almost tree-like with green sticky nuts or seeds. I believe it had purple...
view the full question and answer

Mystery plant
August 31, 2009 - mystery plant, multiple non-woody stems from a single base, thorns like a rose bush,leaves like poison ivy in sets of three with the top dark green underside pale green. thanks
view the full question and answer

Identity of 50 ft. tree
May 20, 2008 - I live in Austin and I have a tall (50-ft) tree outside my window. It's deciduous and has shiny, deep green, spear-tip, serrated leaves that vary in size from about hand- to dinner-plate size. I've ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of blue wildflower on roadsides in Massachusetts
July 28, 2012 - What is the blue wildflower planted on roadsides and highways in Massachusetts?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center