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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - May 14, 2013

From: Laredo, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Butterfly Gardens
Title: Identification of plant with small lilac flowers in Laredo
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Need help identifying the following: small lilac flowers in a cluster with seed pods, unpleasant scent which can be up to 3 feet tall ..wild flower or weed? am interested if it attracts hummingbirds and butterflies

ANSWER:

It would help to know something more about the plant.   Is it a woody plant?  What sorts of leaves does it have?  What is its habitat?  Without that information it was difficult for me to feel that I had chosen plants that were similar to the one you found.  However, below are a few suggestions for plants with lilac-colored flowers that are native to Webb County.  Some of them are reported to have scents.  For the others I could find no information about the scent.  They range in size from about 1 foot to more than 5 feet.  If you found your plant in a flower bed or lawn, it is very likely it is not native to North America and is an imported cultivated plant and, as such, won't appear in our Native Plant Database.

Guajacum angustifolium (Texas lignum-vitae)   Here is more information from Aggie Horticulture.

Dalea pogonathera (Bearded dalea) is reported to smell like licorice if bruised.  Here are photos and more information

Astragalus nuttallianus (Nuttall's milkvetch)

Lippia alba (Bushy lippia) is strongly scented.  Here are more photos and information from Aggie Horticulture.

Lythrum californicum (California loosestrife)   Here are more photos and information from Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers and Southwest Environmental Information Network.

Pluchea odorata (Sweetscent)    Here are more photos and information.

Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo)

If your plant is one of these, the information about its attraction for butterflies and hummingbirds will be under the heading "Benefits".  Observation will also tell you if butterflies are attracted to it.

If none of these is your plant and you have photos, please visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several Plant Identification forums that accept photos for identification. 

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas lignum-vitae
Guaiacum angustifolium

Nuttall's milkvetch
Astragalus nuttallianus

California loosestrife
Lythrum californicum

Sweetscent
Pluchea odorata

Cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant Identification
June 05, 2012 - I have a plant that looks like a lamb ear leaf but with a carnation flower on top. What is it?
view the full question and answer

Tall plant with bell-shaped upside-down white flowers
July 18, 2014 - 2 tall plants grew outside my suburban New York house in June, blossomed late June. They looked like giant asparagus stalks, and the flowers were white, bell shaped, upside down, look like fairy skirt...
view the full question and answer

Native orchids in Bowie and Harris Counties
July 02, 2015 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I was wondering what types of orchids are native to Bowie County and Harris County.
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
July 28, 2012 - I have a plant that looks like a suculent tree with a canopy like an umbrella. It grows every summer & is no more than 5 ft tall. It has tiny spines on it's trunk, which has white spots on it. the en...
view the full question and answer

Non-native astilbe resemblance to non-native poisonous castor bean from Tomslake BC
May 21, 2014 - I have a plant that looks like a castor bean but it has flowers like a Younique Silvery Pink Astilbe. Need to id because castor bean is poisonous. This plant grows up to 5 feet in height. Thank you !
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