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

Friday - July 19, 2013

From: Centralia, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification of purple flower in Washington state
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I need help. I am a 10 year old girl who just happens to have a brother. He has a deep purple flower with small, oval shaped petals. We would like to know what it is. We planted it in a garden thing at Home Depot. It is supposedly a herb or wildflower. Please help!


First, let me tell you that our focus and expertise here at the Wildflower Center is with plants native to North America.  I'm not sure whether your brother got the plant at Home Depot or he found it growing somewhere in the wild.   If he got it at Home Depot, then it isn't too likely that it is a plant native to North America.  Most of the plants that you buy in nurseries or stores like Home Depot are plants introduced to North America from some other place like Europe, Asia, Africa or Central or South America.   We aren't going to be much help if the plant isn't native to North America.  However, if you can take photos of it, then you can visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants for identification.  Be sure you get a photo of the entire plant, a closeup of the flower, and a closeup of the leaves and how they are arranged on the plant.

If your brother did find the flower growing outdoors, it is possible that it is a North American native plant.  If it is a native plant, then it is very likely to be in our Native Plant Database.  You can help him look for it by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH and choosing "Washington" from the Select State or Province slot and then choosing "Herb" from Habit (general appearance).  Next, select "Blue", "Purple" and "Violet" from Bloom Color.  Then, click on "Submit combination search".  This will give you a list of more than 230 records to look through.  Most of the entries on the list have photos with them.

Another way you can look for it is to search in the Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest database.  This database has native plants as well as a few non-natives that you might find growing in the wild.  You can search by flower color.  On this database your color choice would be "blue".

Best of luck finding the identity of your brother's flower.



More Plant Identification Questions

Smoketree not flowering in Beverly Hills CA
June 29, 2011 - Why is my Smoke tree not flowering? It is big and the leaves are beautiful but no blooms.
view the full question and answer

What is it?
May 29, 2008 - We have two bushes about three ft. high that have narrow leaves that are about one to two inches long and glossy green on top side with soft green on back. They are fairly close together on stems with...
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree with fuschia berries in Pennsylvania
October 26, 2008 - Northeastern Pennsylvania tree with fuschia berries in autumn. Found one in woods,never saw one before.
view the full question and answer

ID of plant that looks like a pine cone?
October 29, 2009 - I have a plant that i was told it was a Pine Cone plant. When it blooms it looks just like a pine cone. but i can't fine anything on it.
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 25, 2008 - Identification of woodland plant in a rual area ? we have bears britches and another plant simaler, but the leaves are flat and smooth, each leaf is on a seperate stalk and each plant has 3 stalk...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center