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
2 ratings

Saturday - June 07, 2008

From: Kansas City, MO
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of plant with large furry leaves
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have 4 huge plants in my flower garden that I cannot identify. They look like an unfolding cabbage with large furry leaves. They also have tiny stickers on them. This a.m. I went out to check on them & the leaves appear to be rotting. What can it be???

ANSWER:

The large furry leaves unfolding like cabbage sound like mullein (Verbascum thapsus), an introduced species brought over with European settlers in the 1700s. It has spread over North America as well as generally around the world. The only part of your description that doesn't match with mullein is that I am not aware that mullein has "tiny stickers". If this isn't the plant in your garden, please send us some photos of the plants and we will do our best to identify it. To send us photos, please visit the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page and read the instructions under "Plant Identification".
 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
July 18, 2010 - My daughter is working on a wildflower collection for her Biology class, we have found a flower, that, for appearances sake, is identified in books as Selfheal. This flower is taller than pictures we...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
November 04, 2010 - I am trying to figure out what this plant is..It has light feathery leaves like dill. It is an annual in the midwest. Height 5-6 feet tall. Stalk is about 3 inches wide with branches that are 2 feet l...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a cucumber-like vine with fruit
November 16, 2011 - We found tiny, grape-size white melon-like fruit on a vine, with tomato-like/cucumber-like seeds. The leaves on the vine were similar to grape or cucumber leaves, but not spiny. They were behind our...
view the full question and answer

Recognizing poison ivy
June 20, 2007 - I am having a difficult time identifying poison ivy. It seems so many plants look like poison ivy can you help me I don't want to kill everything but on the same hand I don't want to itch. Thanks f...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification request from Wales, United Kingdom
November 17, 2011 - I have a plant that has green and pink leaves and the flowers are dry but are like fingers on a hand. The leaves drop down when it needs watering, which is every other day, and the finger shaped clust...
view the full question and answer

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