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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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Monday - July 01, 2013

From: Manchester, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

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??

ANSWER:

That does sound like a very strange plant, but I don't really have a clue as to what it is.  I tried a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database choosing "Maryland" from the Select State or Province slot and "Red" from Bloom Color.  I browsed through photos of the resulting plants from the search, but didn't see anything that I thought could be your plant.   You should try the same search to see if I somehow missed your plant.   It is possible that the flower you picked is not a North American native.   If it isn't, then it wouldn't appear in our Native Plant Database.   If you have photos of the wildlflower, you can visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that accept photos of plants for identification.

 

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