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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 - March 14, 2013

From: Terlingua, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Identification of pale blue flower near Big Bend, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have looked almost everywhere in order to ID this bloom with no luck. Some blooms do arrive close but not quite. I live just outside of Big Bend National Park in Terlingua, TX. On a hike into Dog Canyon we encountered a light blue bloom. One bloom per thin grassy stalk. The closest resemblance of the bloom is of Phlox. However, bloom is a very baby blue. The pistil and stamen stand upright prominently in the center of the flower. Bloom has five petals and is also cupped and each petal comes to a subtle point. There is no separation or space between the petals but overlap the one next to it. I have a photo if there was a way I could send it. Soil is sandy next to a dry wash. Bloom was in November.

ANSWER:

Here are some possibilities for your plant.   All of the suggested plants below have been recorded in or near Big Bend National Park.  Some are only vaguely similar to  your description but I thought I should offer you some choices.  I hope that one of them is the plant you saw.  If not, please visit our Plant Identification page for links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants for identification.

Giliastrum insigne (Marked gilia)  Here are more photos from Polyploid.net taken on Dog Canyon Trail in Big Bend National Park.

Giliastrum incisum (Split-leaf gilia)  Here are more photos from Southwest Environmental Information Network.

Giliastrum acerosum (Bluebowls)  Here are more photos from Southwest Environmental Information Network.

Nemastylis tenuis (Southwestern pleatleaf)  Here are more photos from Southwest Environmental Information Network and from Arizona Biodiversity Image Gallery.

Linum lewisii var. lewisii (Blue flax)  Here are more photos from California Academy of Sciences.

Bouchea linifolia (Flaxleaf bouchea)  Here are more photos from Southwest Environmental Information Network.

Bonamia ovalifolia (Bigpod lady's nightcap)  Here are photos from Angelo State University and from Houston Advanced Research Center Gulf Coast Portal.

Omphalodes aliena (Mexican navelwort)  Here are photos from the TAMU Repository of Vascular Plant Photos.

Ruellia nudiflora (Violet ruellia)  Here are more photos from University of Texas School of Biological Sciences' Archive of Central Texas Plants.

Sisyrinchium demissum (Stiff blue-eyed grass)  Here are more photos from Western New Mexico University and Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers.

Solanum triquetrum (Texas nightshade)  Here are more photos from University of Texas School of Biological Sciences' Archive of Central Texas Plants.

Below are photos from our Image Gallery of some of the plants above.

 

From the Image Gallery


Split-leaf gilia
Giliastrum incisum

Bluebowls
Giliastrum acerosum

Southwestern pleatleaf
Nemastylis tenuis

Wild blue flax
Linum lewisii

Flaxleaf bouchea
Bouchea linifolia

Violet ruellia
Ruellia nudiflora

Stiff blue-eyed grass
Sisyrinchium demissum

Texas nightshade
Solanum triquetrum

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