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

Sunday - May 17, 2015

From: Harrington Park, NJ
Region: Northeast
Topic: Plant Identification, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Identification of white flowering bush with lovely scent
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Please identify the sweet smelling white flowering bush/tree blooming now,May, in western Massachusetts. The flowers are tiny 4(?) petals in small clusters. The scent is wonderful.

ANSWER:

This Smarty Plants' best guess is a  white lilac (Syringa vulgaris) bush/tree.  As it happens, I am in southern Vermont at the moment and lilacs, both purple and white, are in full bloom.   The lilac is native to the Balkan Peninsula of Europe but has become naturalized in the rest of Europe and in North America.  Here is a photograph of a white lilac blossom and you can see that each individual small blossom has four petals.  The scent of the lilacs is wonderful!

Now, if this doesn't happen to be the flowering bush/tree you are seeing and you already have or can take photographs, please go to our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photographs of plants to identify.  Be sure to read the Important Notes at the end of Plant Identification page before you submit your photos.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
October 01, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Ever since we received this (much needed and wonderful) rain in Austin, my gardens and yard are being swamped with these tiny, green clover-like plants. I've never seen it ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
August 22, 2011 - I have a rather large berry growing on a tree-like bush in my back yard here in Williamsville Vermont, I've never seen anything like it! I have a picture.
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
November 15, 2008 - Hi, I live in ne pa.i have always had a fasvorite wild flower with yellow flowers in the spring. the plant lasts all summer and fall til first frost. It gets small thin bean like seed pods that I save...
view the full question and answer

Picture in newspaper from Austin
June 02, 2012 - Your gardening story for the Jan 21,2012 in the Austin American Statesman pictured a pale green bush with purple flowers, however the plant was not identified. Can you tell me what it is? Thanks
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 12, 2014 - We live in Magnolia TX and have a shrub we can't identify. It's evergreen and has waxy leaves with a serrated edge that are about an inch in length. They have pink flowers and they grow to ab...
view the full question and answer

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