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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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Thursday - February 14, 2013

From: Conway, AR
Region: Select Region
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Please help identify a flower I saw growing in the woods in central Arkansas last week.It had a light yellow flower growing out of a very flat basal rosette made up of grey-green spade-shaped leaves. The flower was a daisy or buttercup type, up-facing. Sorry I didn't have a camera with me at the time. I have looked for it in the Peterson guide and Carl Hunter's Wildflowers of Arkansas, but I haven't been able to find it.

ANSWER:

What I suspect you saw was an early-blooming plant—one that would normally bloom on a stalk but, because it got the signal to bloom early and the stalk hadn't grown yet, bloomed near the basal leaves.  Our February temperatures—indeed, the past year's temperatures in Texas, at least, have been higher than average. Higher than average temperatures could trigger early blooming.

If you go to our Native Plant Database and do a COMBINATION SEARCH choosing "Arkansas" from Select State of Province, "Herb" from Habit (general appearance), "Feb", "Mar" and "Apr" from Bloom Time and "Yellow" from Bloom Color, you can see more that 80 possibilities for Arkansas natives.  You should check out these possibilities yourself.  The most likely ones that I could see based on your description were:

Krigia virginica (Virginia dwarfdandelion)  Here are photos showing the basal leaves from Illinois Wildflowers and Missouri Plants.

Lindheimera texana (Texas yellowstar)  Here are more photos from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Texas.

Packera obovata (Golden groundsel)  Here are more photos from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Texas.

Waldsteinia fragarioides (Appalachian barren strawberry)  Here are more photos and information from Missouri Botanical Garden.

 

From the Image Gallery


Virginia dwarfdandelion
Krigia virginica

Texas yellowstar
Lindheimera texana

Texas yellowstar
Lindheimera texana

Golden groundsel
Packera obovata

Golden groundsel
Packera obovata

Appalachian barren strawberry
Waldsteinia fragarioides

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