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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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.

 
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Saturday - August 25, 2012

From: Prairie Village, KS
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Plant identification from Prairie Village KS
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My friend has identified this plant as a Horseweed. It is 3 1/2 to 4 feet tall. Has a thick, fuzzy single stem. Linear leaves, about 3/4 inch across and 3 or 4 inches long with one or two notches on each side, hang straight down overlapping tightly to the stem. Then there is that bushy top. The bushy top is tightly packed, many small flower stalks with very small leaves. The bloom is about 1/8 inch across, white, single row of petals with a pindot sized yellow center. I would very much like to attach my pictures, but do not see that option. A plant just 3 feet away is the exact duplicate of the Horseweed drawing on Pg. 88 of Field Guide to Wildflowers by Peterson and McKenny. This plant matches their illustration: 3 to 4' tall, single fuzzy stem has the more narrow, less long and less notched linear leaves which are spaced apart, growing straight out. The blossoms are on individually spaced flower stalks. Can you explain the difference? Is "bushy top" not a Horseweed?

ANSWER:

We are sorry, but we are no longer able to accept pictures for plant identification. You can go to our Plant Identification page which has links to several websites that do accept pictures; you may be able to get more information from that.

On the plants in question: there are 3 members of the Conyza (horseweed, butterweed or fleabane) native to North America. Of those, two - Conyza canadensis (Canadian horseweed) and Conyza canadensis var. canadensis (Canadian horseweed) - are native to Kansas. Follow each link to our webpage on that plant. At the bottom of that page, under Additional Resources, you will find a link to Google. Click on that and you will get links to much more information, including pictures.

 

From the Image Gallery


Horseweed
Conyza canadensis

Canadian horseweed
Conyza canadensis var. canadensis

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