Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - May 21, 2013

From: Spring Branch, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Identification of red-topped grass blooming in Comal County
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Comal County and right now (mid May) there is a beautiful, red topped grass growing along the side of country roads. It is maybe 1 foot tall, and waves in the breeze. Do you know what kind of grass it might be?

ANSWER:

The highest probability is Aristida purpurea (Purple threeawn).  It is truly beautiful and native. 

Another possibility is Bothriochloa ischaemum (King Ranch bluestem), an invasive species native Africa, Asia and Europe that is growing along highways near Austin right now.

 

From the Image Gallery


Purple threeawn
Aristida purpurea

Purple threeawn
Aristida purpurea

Purple threeawn
Aristida purpurea

Purple threeawn
Aristida purpurea

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
September 05, 2011 - This incredible plant has grown up in the past two months. Considering the extreme heat of this summer, my husband assumes it must be a weed. We have had this skinny strip of dirt for four years, and ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
July 01, 2013 - I picked a beautiful large red wildflower, & by the time I got home, the stem had turned "spikey" and dark black! Very ugly & a little scary as I had never heard of such a flower! Can you identify??
view the full question and answer

Identifying
September 01, 2007 - i have a tree that i cannot identify. the leaf looks like a "pot plant"(yes, cannabis!!), but the leaf does not have serrated edges. it has a long bloom of numerous small white flowers that form a s...
view the full question and answer

Identification of Cercis canadensis or Cornus florida
July 03, 2007 - I have what I think is a dogwood tree of some sort but I'm not sure. I wondered if I sent you a picture you could identify it. So far no one has. It's different because of its branches. They are red...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification request
September 15, 2007 - I took a trip to Arizona in 9/06. While out walking through public land I encountered a beautiful plant with very distinctive leaves, color of woody stems and flowers. I have scoured the USDA plant ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.