Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
123 ratings

Wednesday - January 16, 2008

From: Milford, CT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: The most common wildflower in North America
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Smartyplants, What the most common wildflower in North America? My friend thinks it's the oxeye daisy. Is this correct? I work for a puzzle publishing company, and am doing research for a themed puzzle. The puzzle is about wildflowers. Hope you can help! Debra in Milford, CT

ANSWER:

The answer depends on how you define the terms, "common" and "wildflower." Many of the most "common wildflowers"—that is, species commonly called wildflowers and occurring in all 48 contiguous states—are of Old World origin. Many are also considered weeds. Among them are Oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare), Bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare), Bachelor's buttons (Centaurea cyanus), Queen Anne's-lace (Daucus carota), Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule), Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) and Shepherd's purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) that all came from Europe or Asia.

Native candidates that occur in all the "lower 48 states" (though all are not native to every state) are Common yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Carolina Crane's-bill (Geranium carolinianum), and Sleepy catchfly (Silene antirrhina).

For our money, however, the two most common wildflowers (herbaceous native plants with showy flowers) are Blackeyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) and Common sunflower (Helianthus annuus). Both occur all across America and in many places occur in vast numbers.

Good luck with your puzzle and we hope it includes lots of native wildflowers.


Achillea millefolium

Geranium carolinianum

Silene antirrhina

Rudbeckia hirta

Helianthus annuus

 

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Horsemint for Connecticut
July 01, 2015 - Will horsemint grow in Connecticut?
view the full question and answer

Milkweed Seedlings Source for Austin, Texas
March 18, 2013 - Where can I find seedlings or four inch pots of common milkweed? I have a backyard garden that is mostly filtered sunlight and space for them.
view the full question and answer

Plants for the Shade of a Pine Tree in Pittsburg
June 03, 2013 - I live in Pittsburgh, PA. My neighbor has a huge pine tree. Last year everything I planted on that side near the tree died. That part of the yard only gets morning sun, as the tree overshadows it. Wha...
view the full question and answer

When is best time to plant seeds of Texas Nightshade in San Antonio, TX?
September 20, 2014 - I need to know the time to plant seeds of Texas Nightshade. Can I plant them now ( August ), or wait till fall or spring?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on wildflower meadow gardening
December 08, 2004 - My local elementary school in Decatur, Texas (north central) has an open field of wonderful wildflowers in front of it. This year, they were mowed before the flowers went to seed. What is a good rul...
view the full question and answer

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