Explore Plants

Share

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
    
 

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 - June 21, 2012

From: Baltimore, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of small plant with white flowers in Baltimore, MD
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

It's a small plant, has flowers in June, four white petals with large, tall conical center, about no more than an inch in diameter. The leaves are alternating with branched veins. It stays at about 6" high, grows in deep shade, comes in variegated as well. It is spreading through the lawn by its roots. One of my tenants planted it. It puts up with a lot of abuse. Baltimore is famous for its acidic clay soil.

ANSWER:

Since you said that one of your tenants planted it, Mr. Smarty Plants is very suspicious that this isn't a native plant.  However, I did do a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database choosing "Maryland" from the Select State or Province option, "Herb" from Habit (general appearance) and "White" from Bloom color.  You could do the same search on your own and look through the photos and read the descriptions.  I found the following four plants that partially fit your description:

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry dogwood).  Here are more photos and information from Plants of Wisconsin.

Cardamine concatenata (Cutleaf toothwort).  Here are more photos and information from Connecticut Botanical Society.

Cakile edentula (American searocket).  Here are more photos and information from Connecticut Botanical Society.

Mitchella repens (Partridgeberry).  Here are more photos and information from Duke University.

Diodia virginiana (Buttonweed).  Here are more photos and information from Missouri Plants.

I suspect that none of these is the plant that is growing in your lawn.  However, if you have—or can take—photos, you will find links to several plant identification forums on our Plant Identification page that would accept your photos of the plant to be identified.

 

From the Image Gallery


Bunchberry dogwood
Cornus canadensis

Cutleaf toothwort
Cardamine concatenata

American searocket
Cakile edentula

Partridgeberry
Mitchella repens

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
June 27, 2008 - A friend brought back pictures of plants from a recent trip which included the center. It didn't have an identification sign on it and no one was around at that moment for him to ask. I can send th...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID from Horseshoe Bend, TX
April 01, 2012 - I am trying to identify two plants - one - a flower springing up in a mint patch/Users/leehsb/Desktop/DSC_0407.JPG/Users/leehsb/Desktop/DSC_0408.JPG and the next a small bunched plant in our garden (n...
view the full question and answer

Mystery plants at Marble Falls
September 01, 2008 - On the upper end of Lake Marble Falls is a 2-3 foot tall green stemed plant just blooming small white daisy like flowers. There are no leaves on the plant just stems and now flowers. Any idea where ...
view the full question and answer

Identity of red flower that looks like a blue bell
May 31, 2013 - Looking for the name of a flower that grows in Breckinridge county Kentucky. It's looks similar to the blue bell but blood red in color. Any help is appreciated.
view the full question and answer

E-mailing a picture for Plant ID from Dexter KY
June 25, 2012 - Could I email a picture of a vine that is taking over my porch? Can't seem to find it anywhere. It is dark green and relatively shiny with 10 leaves on each stem.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.