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?

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
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
1 rating

Monday - September 03, 2012

From: Eminence, KY
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Plant Identification
Title: Identity of plant in Kentucky with fuzzy grayish-green leaves
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I would like to know about a plant that I do not know what it is. I had this plant just come up in my flowerbed, that looked like a tobacco plant but the leaves looked like a lambs ear plant. It was grayish green color with fuzz on the leaves. It grew tall with flowers on top. When they died off I pull them up and got a bad itchy red bumpy rash. I had to go to the doctor twice to get rid of it. It has come up since and if I touch it I get the rash back. Would you have any idea what this is, someone told me it was Indian tobacco? Thanks Lisa Willhite

ANSWER:

This sounds to me like Verbascum thapsus (mullein).  It is a native of Europe and Asia but the distribution map from the USDA shows it appearing all over North America.  The webpage for Plants for a Future and the Botanical Dermatology Database say that the hairs from the leaves can be an irritant.  It is considered a noxious weed in Hawaii and Colorado and the Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group has it on their Least Wanted list.

If this isn't the plant you found in your garden, you could take photos and then visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that accept photos of plants for identification.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Decline of non-native Star Jasmine in California
June 30, 2008 - We just had 2 trachelospermum jasminoides planted in a redwood planter box about a month ago. We can't figure out if we are watering too much or too little but some leaves are turning yellow and the...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native cuphea in Pearland TX
November 09, 2009 - I have about 8 Bat Face Cupheas and I am having trouble with them. First, instead of mounding 360 degrees, the branches all grow forward (they do bloom well). They're in full sun, about 3 feet out fr...
view the full question and answer

Illegal to remove an orange blossom from ground in Florida from Atlantis FL
March 28, 2012 - Is there any law that prevents someone from removing an orange blossom from the ground in Florida?
view the full question and answer

Landscaping large area in Webster KY
February 10, 2012 - We just bought a house that we fell in love with. The land around it . . . well it has GREAT potential but is seriously lacking at the moment. Trying to get the farm up and running leaves very litt...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Star Jasmine poisonous to dogs from Dallas
May 20, 2013 - Is star jasmine poisonous to dogs?
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center