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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.

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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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Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
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Monday - May 13, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of Queen Anne's Lace look-alike
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am trying to identify a plant/weed that grows here in Austin but I haven't found an exact match in your databases. It looks very similar to Queen Anne's lace and to your photos of yarrow but the leaves are not feathery. It has a long skinny stem topped by tiny snowflake shaped flowers. Few leaves that are serrated but not fern-like. Any ideas?

ANSWER:

My best guess would be the native, Daucus pusillus (American wild carrot).   It is actually the same genus as Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace), the European and southwest Asian species that has been introduced into North America and it looks very similar to it.  Here are more photos of Queen Anne's lace and of American wild carrot (also called Rattlesnake Weed) for comparison's sake.  In case that isn't the plant you've seen, here are some other possibilities:

One of the Hymenopappus spp.  For instance, Hymenopappus artemisiifolius var. artemisiifolius (Oldplainsman), Hymenopappus scabiosaeus var. corymbosus (Carolina woollywhite) and Hymenopappus tenuifolius (Chalk hill hymenopappus) occur in Travis County.

Bifora americana (Prairie bishop)

Cicuta maculata (Spotted water hemlock)

Osmorhiza longistylis (Longstyle sweetroot)

One of the Parthenium sppParthenium confertum (Gray's feverfew) and Parthenium hysterophorus (Ragweed parthenium), an introduced species.  Here are more photos from Southeastern Flora.

One of the Valerianella spp.  There are three species found in Travis County—Valerianella amarella (Hairy cornsalad), Valerianella radiata (Beaked cornsalad), and Valerianella stenocarpa (Narrowcell cornsalad).

If none of these are the plant you have seen and you do have photos of it, I suggest that you visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


American wild carrot
Daucus pusillus

American wild carrot
Daucus pusillus

American wild carrot
Daucus pusillus

Old plainsman
Hymenopappus artemisiifolius

Carolina woollywhite
Hymenopappus scabiosaeus

Chalk hill hymenopappus
Hymenopappus tenuifolius

Prairie bishop
Bifora americana

Longstyle sweetroot
Osmorhiza longistylis

Gray's feverfew
Parthenium confertum

Hairy cornsalad
Valerianella amarella

Beaked cornsalad
Valerianella radiata

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