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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

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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Sunday - June 17, 2012

From: St. Augustine, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identity of garlic-like plant in Florida
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Please tell me what this plant is. It is not Society Garlic and it is not Meadow Garlic. It has THREE curling purple leaves and lots of bulbs flowering from the same stalk. The pointy leaves are edged with purple when young. How do I send a photo? Thanks!


About the only North American native plant I can come up with from your description is Allium tricoccum (Ramp).   The leaves themselves aren't purple, but the stems are maroon or purple.  Here are more photos and information from The Forager Press, Illinois Wildflowers, and Connecticut Wildflowers.  It is entirely possible it is an introduced non-native plant but our expertise and focus at the Wildflower Center are with plants native to North America.

I am sorry but we no longer accept photos of plants for identification.  We don't have the number of staff or volunteers to keep up with the overwhelming volume of photos we received.  As you can read on our Plant Identification page: 

"We would love to spend all day identifying native plants for you folks! However, we already spend all day (and most of the night) answering your native plant questions. Luckily, there are some excellent forums available to help you identify those mysterious unknowns."

You can find links on our Plant identification page to those plant identification forums that will accept your photos for identification.


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