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

Thursday - August 16, 2012

From: Durham, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identity of purple flower with flowers similar to witch hazel
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Found along woods roads. Purple flower about 1 - 2 ft. in height. Central stem rises from a ground level leaf whorl of five leaves from 4 to 7 inches long and 2 to 3 inches at their widest point. Central stem is pubescent. The flower stems rise from the central stem in the base of a small leaflet or petiole. The purple flowers have a petal structure similar to native witch hazel. The flowers rise out of multiple flowerets at the teminal of the branching flower stems.

ANSWER:

Assuming that this is a native plant, I did a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database, choosing North Carolina from the Select State or Province option, "Herb" from Habit (general appearance) and "Blue", "Purple" and "Violet" from Bloom Time.  The only plants I found that somewhat matched your descriptiion were the joepyeweeds (Eupatoridelphus sp. and Eupatorium purpureum).

Eupatoriadelphus dubius (Coastal plain joepyeweed)

Eupatoriadelphus fistulosus (Trumpetweed)

Eupatoriadelphus maculatus (Joe-pye weed)

Eupatoriadelphus maculatus var. maculatus (Spotted trumpetweed)

Eupatorium purpureum (Purple joepyeweed)

Another possibility is one of the Vernonia (Ironweed) species.  There is Vernonia gigantea (Giant ironweed) and Vernonia noveboracensis (New york ironweed) in North Carolina.

You should try the search above in our Native Plant Database yourself to see if there is something I might have missed.   You could also try searching by color in the Southeastern Flora database.

Do you have photos?   If none of the plants named above is the plant you saw and you can't find it in either our database or in the Southeastern Flora database, then visit our Plant Identification page where you will find links to several plant identification forums that accept photos of plants for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


Coastal plain joepyeweed
Eupatoriadelphus dubius

Joe-pye weed
Eutrochium fistulosum

Joe-pye weed
Eupatoriadelphus maculatus

Spotted trumpetweed
Eupatoriadelphus maculatus var. maculatus

Purple joepyeweed
Eutrochium purpureum

Giant ironweed
Vernonia gigantea

New york ironweed
Vernonia noveboracensis

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
July 18, 2010 - My daughter is working on a wildflower collection for her Biology class, we have found a flower, that, for appearances sake, is identified in books as Selfheal. This flower is taller than pictures we...
view the full question and answer

Giant Thistle-Like Plant from Elgin, TX
June 01, 2014 - I have a giant thistle like plant in my field we have been unable to identify. It looks like a milk thistle but it is short..only about a foot tall..stocky...and the flowers are giant..about 6 to 8 i...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
September 24, 2008 - I have a single stem red vine with purple berries growing on it. It is in a cluster of bushes and gets mostly morning and early afternoon sun. The berries also have small bumps at the stem. I have ...
view the full question and answer

Report on object glowing in tree in New Hampshire
August 04, 2013 - Hello again Mr Smartpants. I commented about a purple glow coming from a tree in previous comments. Since then they have multiplied and are spreading to different trees. We believe we may have it narr...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID from Chicago
August 18, 2010 - When I was hiking in Portland, OR, my friend had me eat a leaf off of a trail-side plant. It tasted very much like sour apple, it was delicious. It has average-sized green leaves and in July it had no...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center