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

Graywater with soap on trees and shrubs from Austin
June 18, 2012 - I previously asked you about using rinse water from our top loading washer to water trees and flowers. I have two more questions: Can I use the soapy water to water trees and shrubs? Then I get...
view the full question and answer

Survival of non-native Cape Plumbago in Delaware
October 18, 2008 - I have a cape plumbago shrub growing in a large pot outdoors - but we are in Delaware - where it won't apparently survive the winter. How can I keep my plumbago safe over the winter?
view the full question and answer

Non-native Japanese red maple exposed to full sun
August 16, 2008 - I planted a Dwarf Japanese Red Maple tree about 3 yrs ago. Until about a month ago it was partially shaded by a massive chestnut tree, that has since been cut down. Now the new growth on my tree appea...
view the full question and answer

Milkweed and non-native goatweed in Austin
May 28, 2011 - Which parks or fields can we find many milkweed and goatweed in Austin, TX? I live in Austin, TX 78757.
view the full question and answer

Problem with non-native gerbera daisies
June 09, 2009 - My gerber daiseys leaf but they don't want to bloom. They come back. What am I doing wrong?
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center