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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.

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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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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.

 
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Monday - July 22, 2013

From: Sylvania, OH
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I've lived at my apartment complex for a year now and this current spring/summer I noticed the grounds keeper leaving a fern like plant that is approx. 1-2 feet tall and approx. 1 foot wide. It's leaves are a blue or green color with the largest cluster of yellow flowers being near 3 inches. Some are smaller though. This plant is making very nervous. I cant send any pictures in this question, but I can in an email.

ANSWER:

Our focus and expertise here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center are with plants native to North America.  Plants on the grounds of apartment complexes are most often cultivated plants that have been imported for the landscaping trade and NOT native plants.  Your description of the plant doesn't immediately suggest a plant native to Ohio, but I can tell you that it isn't a fern since ferns are non-flowering plants.  However, if you think it may be a native plant, you can do a search in our Native Plant Database for it.  Under COMBINATION SEARCH on the Native Plant Database page, select "Ohio" from the Select State or Province slot, "yellow" from Bloom Color, and "1-3 ft." from Height.  This will give you a list of more than 90 species to scroll through.   Most of the species have photographs with them.

Probably the surest way to find the plant's identity is to visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants to identify.  Be sure to read the Important Notes with tips on the features your photos should show. 

Also, you might ask the grounds keeper about the plant.  He may know its identity and be able to tell you a great deal about it.

 

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