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

How do I grow bluebonnets in East Texas?
April 03, 2009 - I live in the Piney Woods region in N.East Texas. I bought a flat of bluebonnets and want to know if they will grow back next year? If not, how do I get bluebonnets to grow back every year in my yard ...
view the full question and answer

Growing Lupinus perennis in sandy soil.
February 15, 2009 - I want to grow Lupinus perennis for the Karner butterfly. I know it won't grow in clay (my soil is wet clay). Can I plant the plant in a big (20" diameter x 17" tall) rubber pot, and fill the pot w...
view the full question and answer

Germinating Milkweed Seeds
January 23, 2015 - When is the best time to plant milkweed seeds outside? I was told when the overnight temperature hits 70 F. (our garden is in Lakeway, Texas). So around late May? Is this when the seeds germinate i...
view the full question and answer

Red selection of Coreopsis Tinctoria from Austin
June 10, 2013 - Red tall plains coreopsis is being sold @ Eden Bros. THey note it is a native, can grow to zone 10, but they say it is "not heat or drought toleranr". Cannot find verification or rebuttal anywhere. ...
view the full question and answer

Plant Suggestions for Shady Site under Trees in Alabama
April 03, 2014 - I live in Montgomery, AL and have a bare area (20' x 5) that's shady and soil erosion is a problem. Grass stops growing at the drip line of the trees here. Do you have any suggestions for growing s...
view the full question and answer

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