Contact Us Host an Event 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

Blooming time for bluebonnets in Fredericksburg, TX
January 30, 2013 - Any idea of when the Bluebonnets are expected to be in bloom I Fredericksburg TX, this year?
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for September wedding in Missouri
July 21, 2007 - I am interested in having wildflowers in my wedding in late September. Although the wedding is in the early fall I wanted to have dandelions but I was informed that they are not long lasting enough fo...
view the full question and answer

Perennial herbs and woody species for North Texas
February 17, 2009 - I have recently moved to North Texas. It would be helpful to know some hardy perennial flowers to plant. Also what types of shrubs and trees that do well in the area. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Planting ironweed in Valley Forge
June 07, 2011 - I work in a national park and we have one population of Vernonia glauca (tawny ironweed), a state-listed endangered species in Pennsylvania. Last year we collected seed and have been successful in gro...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen privacy hedge and drought-resistant garden
July 21, 2008 - I am looking for a hardy evergreen hedge for privacy in Northern Michigan. I have sandy soil. Also am interested in planting a drought garden with mostly sun in same sandy soil.
view the full question and answer

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