En Español

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

Sunday - June 30, 2013

From: Bodega Bay, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identity of plant that smells like dill in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Whenever I drive over the Sonoma County, CA coastal range and to the beach (usually Bodega) as you get closer to the ocean the air is scented not just with the wonderful smell of the sea, but also of something that smells kind of like dill, but not exactly. It immediately takes me back to when I was a kid, going to the coast with my folks. Would love to know what it is, possibly a native plant? and if it might grow in my home (Sacramento, CA) garden so I can smell that delightful scent ANY time!

ANSWER:

Well, your request is a real challenge! I have to tell you that identifying plants by description alone is a difficult task.  Identifying them by smell alone is nearly impossibile—especially since I live in Texas and you are in California where your plant community is very different from mine in Texas.  Someone here in Central Texas could ask me about a plant that smells like grape koolaid and I could guess they are talking about the blossoms of Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel), but I will readily admit that I don't have a clue about your plant.  However, I can make several suggestions to help you find out what your plant is:

  • Someone in the Milo Baker Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, the chapter for Sonoma County, might be able to tell you what your plant is.  You could contact one of their officers or even go to one of their meetings to see if someone could help you.  Be sure to check their links under "Native Plant Resources–Further Resources" for other possible resources that could help. 
  • Checking with a nursery that specializes in native plants in the area might be helpful.  You can search for nurseries that specialize in native plants in your area in our National Suppliers Directory.
  • The Fragrant Garden – fragrance of California native plants, from Las Pilitias Nursery in Escondido and Santa Margarita lists several possibilities for you to pursue.

Best of luck with your quest to find your plant's identity!

 

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of oak trees in Pennsylvania
October 14, 2013 - I am an avid hunter in PA. I found these nuts and was wondering what kind they are. There is a red oak beside this tree, and I know what a white oak is but this tree and it's nuts look to be from a...
view the full question and answer

Identification of stinging plant in Central Texas
July 02, 2012 - I live on 15 acres on Nameless Road. When walking on property, occasionally my leg/ankle brushes against some plant that "stings" me. Like little needles in my skin. Doesn't last long, but becau...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID from North Carolina
August 16, 2010 - Hi Mr. Smartyplants, I know that you can identify blue cohash in a neat way: 3 stems which easy branch to 3 more stems which each branch into 3 more and then 3 leaves attached to each. Well, do you...
view the full question and answer

What is Carolina Jessamine in San Antonio?
July 24, 2009 - Okay, so if Gelsemium sempervirens is the one photographed by Joe Marcus in the "Explore Plants" section, then what is the actual name of the plant that is in every other yard in San Antonio, widely...
view the full question and answer

Why is Mentzelia oligosperma called chickenthief?
July 15, 2014 - Could you tell me why Mentzelia oligosperma is sometimes called chickenthief?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center