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?

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
    
 
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

Tuesday - July 03, 2012

From: Portland, OR
Region: Northwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Plant Identification
Title: Flower with spike of yellow flowers with hairy purple filaments
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Fuzzy purple stamens! I can't find this plant identified anywhere. Blooms abt 1" or a little more across. 5 yellow petals, 5 sepals, & 5 stamens with yellow anthers, & the filaments are covered with long purple hairs. Blooms whorled around a spike 2-4' tall, seen next to wetland & in a meadow. Blooms are quickly followed by large hard capsules. A clasping, cordate to ovate leaf beneath each flower-stem. What the heck is this lovely thing, and I hope hope hope it's native!

ANSWER:

This does sound like a beautiful plant.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find it in our Native Plant Database.  The plants that do come to mind, however, are the Verbascum species.  They are about 2 feet tall with spikes of yellow flowers.  In particular, Verbascum blattaria (moth mullein) is described as having hairy purple stamen filaments.  The flower petals can be yellow or white tinged with pink.   It is not, unfortunately, a native plant but an introduced species from Eurasia.  Its distribution includes nearly all of North America and it appears on the Colorado State List of Noxious Weeds.  There are other species of Verbascum, all introduced, that occur in North America and some even occur in Oregon, but none have the hairy purple filaments like those of V. blattaria.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Deer Resistant Roses and Fruit Trees in NC
April 20, 2015 - Hello, I am planning a house on Lake Gaston in North Carolina (to be built) and will need to establish a new garden on the cleared lot. I would like to focus on native plants, but I love a cutting ga...
view the full question and answer

Ivy a suitable ground cover in Live Oaks from Gulfport MS
April 17, 2014 - Will Ivy be a safe and suitable ground cover for old growth Live Oak trees in coastal Mississippi?
view the full question and answer

Problem with Chinese Pistache tree
September 01, 2014 - We have a gorgeous Chinese Pistache in our yard, about 25 feet tall. We bought it for its gorgeous fall color. The problem is that it has never turned color for us. All the other pistaches in the neig...
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of lantanas in San Antonio
July 22, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Plants, We have lantanas in our front yard. This summer the leaves have turned white and they die to a brown color all the while the leaves are "crispy". At the beginning of the season...
view the full question and answer

Removing invasive Dichelostemma firecracker plant from Austin
April 12, 2012 - We have dichelostemma firecracker plant & cannot kill it. We need help in getting rid of this plant. Spent another 3 hours digging up corms this afternoon. It is invading our backyard & want it kil...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center