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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - April 22, 2008

From: Lometa, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Looking for rattlesnake flower
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I taught school for many years. The students and I identified wildflowers. I had one I call Rattlesnake Flower. It was small and had a little blue flower. On the leaves were little seed cases that resembled rattles on a Rattlesnake. Now, I can't seem to fine it in the Texas Wildflower lists. Is there such a thing? I would love to see a picture.(It is possible that we were never able to identify it and simply gave it this name.

ANSWER:

There is one wildflower, Brazoria truncata, that has the common name of rattlesnake flower. However, it has pinkish flowers rather than blue flowers. You can see how the flower heads resemble the rattles on a rattlesnake, though. It does have a variation, Brazoria truncata var. pulcherrima (Centerville brazos-mint), that has blue flowers that might be what you called rattlesnake flower. These are both in the Family Lamiaceae (Mint Family).

There are a couple of other possibilities that have blue flowers and are called Dyschoriste linearis (snake herb) and Dyschoriste schiedeana var. decumbens (spreading snakeherb). These are in the Family Acanthaceae (Acanthus Family). However, your description sounds more like a flower in the Family Lamiaceae (Mint Family). I am going to list a few that sort of fit your description, even though they aren't called rattlesnake flower. They are:

Salvia engelmannii (Engelmann's sage)

Salvia texana (Texas sage)

Scutellaria drummondii (Drummond's skullcap)

Scutellaria integrifolia (helmet flower)

Scutellaria ovata (heartleaf skullcap)

Scutellaria ovata ssp. bracteata (heartleaf skullcap)

Scutellaria resinosa (sticky skullcap)

Scutellaria wrightii (Wright's skullcap)

Warnockia scutellarioides (prairie brazosmint)

Mr. Smarty Plants would be very interested to know if any of these flowers is the one you knew as Rattlesnake Flower.


Brazoria truncata

Brazoria truncata var. pulcherrima

Dyschoriste linearis

Dyschoriste schiedeana var. decumbens

Salvia engelmannii

Salvia texana

Scutellaria drummondii

Scutellaria integrifolia

Scutellaria integrifolia

Scutellaria ovata

Scutellaria ovata ssp. bracteata

Scutellaria resinosa

Scutellaria wrightii

Warnockia scutellarioides

 

 

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