Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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?

Share

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

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.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - May 14, 2014

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Trees
Title: Identification of tree with round purple leaves
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What is tne name of the purple leaf tree whose leaves are spherical? Maybe 1 to 2" in diameter? A neighbor who has moved now, had one but cut it down before i could find out or rescue it. It wasnt large (maybe 10 ft?) and grew in the shade in Houston. Definitely a tree, not a bush.

ANSWER:

By spherical I assume you mean that the leaves are round, not globe-shaped.  As far as I know there aren't any native trees with round purple leaves.  There are cultivated plants that have purple leaves.  Our focus and expertise here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center are with plants native to North America.  Cultivated plants generally have been imported from elsewhere so we will have to refer you to other sources to search for your tree other than searching in our Native Plant Database that countains only North American natives.

Here are some of the popular cultivated plants with purple leaves from (Trees and Shrubs with Purple Leaves from About.com) and more trees and shrubs with purple leaves from BlueBell Arboretum & Nursery.  Some possibilities are Fagus sylvatica 'Purpurea', Prunus cerasifera 'Thundercloud' and Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple'.  If none of these suggestions look like the tree that you saw, you might consider contacting the Harris County AgriLife Extension Agent or going to a large commercial nursery to ask if they know of a tree that meets your description.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
September 05, 2011 - This incredible plant has grown up in the past two months. Considering the extreme heat of this summer, my husband assumes it must be a weed. We have had this skinny strip of dirt for four years, and ...
view the full question and answer

Identity of tree with fragrant yellow flowers and thorns
June 06, 2013 - I'm not sure if this is a native plant. It's a tree, around 15" tall. The leaves are in bunches with 3-4 very sharp small spines at each bunch. Flowers are small, yellow, hang down from the leaf...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification possibly red buckeye
July 06, 2008 - I encountered a shrub-like plant in the Edwards Plateu noth of Bracketville, and could use your help with identification. It's most distinguishing charactaristics are the seed pod, which has three c...
view the full question and answer

Photographing and Identifying trees of Long Island
June 01, 2013 - After being in a car accident I got into photography as sports are a distant memory due to my injuries. As a new hobby I thought of taking pictures of trees and then finding out their species name. ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 17, 2011 - I have an area of some plants growing wild in woods behind my house. It will creep onto adjoining plants and has a delicate lavender colored flower that is curled up similar to a sweetpea, has a very ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.