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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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Wednesday - June 06, 2012

From: Grand Prairie, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant similar to a cattail
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I don't know where this plant grows normally, but I am looking for a plant that is similar to a cat tail, but the petals are not feathery, they are red and waxy and the petals are round almost. Please help. I am trying to find a plant like this for my mom. Thank you.

ANSWER:

First of all, I am not sure if you are talking about the plants named cattails—Typha domingensis (Southern cattail) and Typha latifolia (Broadleaf cattail)—or plants that have a blossom or leaves similar to the tail of a feline.  At any rate, neither possibility brings to mind a native North American plant to me—our expertise and focus are with plants native to North America.   I think your best bet is to visit a very good nursery and describe and possibly draw a picture of the plant you are looking for.   It is very likely that the plant you are looking for is not a native plant and perhaps conversation with a nursery person could give them a good idea about what the plant is.

 

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