En Español

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

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.

 
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

Mystery Iris-like plant in Tennessee
September 02, 2008 - What is this flower? It came up and bloomed for about five days then died. It was a beautiful white trumpet shaped flower. It had one stem with four flowers. It came up like an Iris but we nver plante...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant in wildflower show
May 29, 2011 - Was in Julian California yesterday for a wild flower display. Had a bad stomach ache as I was walking around looking at the flowers. Saw this one. About 6 inches tall. Instead of leaves, it had wh...
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree along Austin highways
April 01, 2011 - I am trying to identify a large tree seen along many Austin Highways. The best ID can find is Western Soapberry, but the articles all specify white blooms. The trees I see have purple clusters of bloo...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
August 03, 2008 - 6 2 ft. spikes appeared in an infertile part of my garden. They have a huge quantity of very tiny ochid-like flowers, mostly white with pink tinge. I took it to the master gardeners here and no one co...
view the full question and answer

Identity of night-glowing object in tree in New Hampshire
August 02, 2013 - I know this sounds crazy but last night when my husband stepped outside he noticed a purplish glow in one of the trees. At first he thought some kind of animal but when throwing a rock at it it did no...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center