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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

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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Wednesday - September 05, 2012

From: Sarahsville, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identity of tall plant with blooms similar to squash in Ohio
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Trying to identify a mystery plant. Have found nothing similar on the internet. Can I send a picture and if so, how? The plant is over 5 feet tall with many branches and has blooms similar to squash but smaller. The plant is in Sarahsville, OH.

ANSWER:

Assuming you mean that the flowers are yellow and the same general shape as squash flowers and was found in the "wild" rather than in someone's yard or garden, two plants come to mind—one is the native, Gossypium hirsutum (Upland cotton).   Here are more photos and information about wild cotton and here are several photos from CalPhotos.  The USDA Plants Database distribution map doesn't show upland cotton occurring in Ohio, but the map does show it in Pennsylvania and Indiana.  The other plant is the non-native, cultivated Abelmoschus esculentus (okra).  Again, the USDA Plants Database distribution map doesn't show it occurring in Ohio, but it is shown in Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky. 

If you saw the plant in a garden or lawn, it is probably a non-native cultivar.   There are several varieties of yellow hibiscus plants that would fit your description.   You can find them on the internet by googling "yellow hibiscus."

If none of the plants mentioned above is your plant, you can visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants for identification.  Unfortunately, we no longer accept photos for identification because we were inundated with requests and don't have enough staff or volunteers to handle them all.

 

From the Image Gallery


Upland cotton
Gossypium hirsutum

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