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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!

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Friday - April 04, 2014

From: Burton, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Vine with wine-colored flowers in Washington County, TX
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I'm trying to identify a deep purple wine colored flowering vine in Washington County, Texas. It looks very similar to Texas wisteria, but it is something else. I've seen them growing in vineyards at the ends of rows of the grape plants.

ANSWER:

It is usually very difficult to identify plants based on short, written descriptions.  This identification is no exception.  A couple of native possibilities that come to mind are Wisteria frutescens and Clematis pitcheri.  

If neither of these species are your mystery plant, you might try doing a combination search in the NPIN Plants Database.  Select Texas in the "Select State or Province" box and select Vine in the "Habit (general appearance)" box.  Then click on the "Submit combination Search" button.  The search will yield about 162 possibilities, but you can scroll through them fairly quickly and perhaps find the ID you seek.

If you don't find the plant you're looking for there, your mystery plant is likely a non-native species.  In that case, we recommend sending a plant ID request to the UBC Forums for potential identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


American wisteria
Wisteria frutescens

Purple leatherflower
Clematis pitcheri

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