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?


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

Friday - August 31, 2012

From: Port Saint Lucie, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification, Trees
Title: Identification of small tree in Florida
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I live in Port Saint Lucie, FL. We have a few trees (?) growing in our yard I would like to i.d. They seem to grow quickly have smooth leaves that grow opposite one another and the underside of the leaves are purple and the top side is green. Also, the largest one is at least 8 feet tall.


You description doesn't  bring to my mind a tree or shrub native to Florida.  You can do a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database choosing "Florida" from the Select State or Province option and "Tree" from Habit (general appearance).  You should also try the same search but substitute "Shrub" for "Tree."  I have done this search but didn't see a tree that looked like your description.  However, I don't know what the shape or size of the leaves are and whether the leaves grow up the stem in pairs or they grow on branches that come off the main stem or trunk so I could have missed your tree/shrub.  You should do the search yourself in case I missed it.  

It is entirely possible that your tree/shrub is not a native plant.   If it isn't native to North America, it won't be in our Native Plant Database.   Florida's mild climate makes it easy for non-native tropical and semi-tropical plants to grow there.  If you don't find your tree in our Native Plant Database, you should take photos of it and then visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants for identification.


More Plant Identification Questions

Identifying native sedges
October 14, 2013 - What's the best way to identify a specific sedge ?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of shrub with thorns and purple flowers
July 05, 2011 - I have a small tree or shrub, it has very small or thin thorns on the branches. It blooms in April / May. The flowers are purple. My mother-in-law said that it has been around for over 100 years, b...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a plant that appears to be a pink Merremia.
November 14, 2011 - I recently discovered a plant growing locally that was not blooming, but based on the leaves and seed pods I thought it might be Merremia quinquefolia. This week I was able to catch it blooming and th...
view the full question and answer

Identification of Matelea reticulata
June 08, 2007 - I recently saw blooming in an Austin park a small white-green flower ( 3/4 ") with a center that looked like a small pearl. Any idea what it is. I can't find it in my flower book, It was on a waist...
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant friend bought at plant sale
June 20, 2015 - Can you Please Identify this plant? A friend had bought it at a plant sale and she thinks it was called a money tree. I am curios as to what it really is because it has jagged edges on the leaves and ...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center