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 - 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

Purple joepyeweed
Eutrochium purpureum

Giant ironweed
Vernonia gigantea

New york ironweed
Vernonia noveboracensis

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification, possibly Phytolacca americana (American pokeweed)
August 20, 2010 - I have a patch of plants I can't find what they are, could you help? The plant is a tuber (resembles a carrot when it is small), the stalk is red and fibrous, comes back each year bigger, has green ...
view the full question and answer

Pictures to Mr. Smarty Plants from Bay Point CA
October 17, 2013 - Is there any way to send you a picture of my Mulberry tree, the Jade and the Spider Plants that are growing in my back yard so you can see what I'm talking about.
view the full question and answer

Identification of tall dry, stalk plant in Central Texas
January 19, 2011 - I'm trying to identify a plant from my childhood in Central Texas, as I'd like to evaluate its potential as a biofuel crop. It is a stalk-plant, growing quite tall, 7-8' on average, with knobbed...
view the full question and answer

Identification of possible edible huckleberry in Central Texas
July 20, 2007 - I'm trying to identify a plant in my backyard, and in particular, I'm wondering if it's an edible huckleberry of some kind. Given all the rain Austin has had this summer, I wonder if it's not bey...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification and advice about moving it
March 10, 2010 - I have a plant (a thick stalk about 4 foot tall with yellow flowers on it) that blooms in the morning and the flowers fall off at night. I have searched for info on this plant and have come up short. ...
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.