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?


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

Monday - July 01, 2013

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


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??


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.


More Plant Identification Questions

Possible identification of common mullein in New York
July 06, 2007 - OK I have a monster size plant, growing beside my patio, looked weedlike similar to a burdock when young, but different and interesting. So we let it grow its now about 7'2" tall grows about 2-3" ...
view the full question and answer

Tree with orange flower blooming in August in West Virginia
August 28, 2008 - There is a tree with an orange flower in West Virginia. The orange is at the top of the tree and it blooms in August. I've searched your sight but cannot find it. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Mystery Ground Cover in WI
July 11, 2011 - I am trying to identify a ground cover plant that has started growing in my yard (I'm in central Wisconsin). It is very short, only about 1-2 inches tall and is very thick covering the ground. It h...
view the full question and answer

Identification of night-blooming yellow flower
June 03, 2010 - My Nonna used to have a plant that was a night bloomer. It had leaves that looked like a dandelion, and bloomed a bright yellow flower at dusk. I have never seen anything like it although they were pl...
view the full question and answer

Purple bellshaped flowers in Washington state
July 16, 2008 - on Larch mountain, in the state of Washington, I saw purple, bell shaped flowers growing on a stalk. what are they?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center