Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - May 23, 2009

From: Paxton, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant ID in Champaign IL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am in search of the name of a flower. It is tall, believe on a single stem, if you ever have been in Champaign, Il it grows along the interstate near the overpasses, very pretty purple flowers. I know from this brief info it will be near impossible to identify but it's all I have to go on. It is single stem, leafy, with medium purple flowers in sort of bowl shape, possibly a family of the phlox.

ANSWER:

Nope, never been to Champaign IL, but we can tell you how to search for this plant. Go to our Native Plant Database, and to "Combination Search" on that page. Search on Illinois, herb (herbaceous flowering plant) under Habit, purple under Color and May, June and July under Bloom Time. Then click on the Combination Search box. When we did this we got 169 possibilities. You can follow each plant link to the webpage on that plant, there is usually a picture, and a description of the plant. If you find one that is a good possibility, go to our Image Gallery, enter the plant scientific or common name (from the Database) and, if we have them, you will get several pictures of the plant. By clicking on an individual picture, you will get an enlarged photograph that you can examine more closely. There is always the possibility that it is an introduced non-native, and therefore would not be in our database.

If that fails, go to our Plant ID page for instruction on submitting a photo, and we will try to identify it. 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Backward blooming Jack-in-the-pulpit
April 18, 2008 - why does my jack in the pulpit plant bloom backwards
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
October 30, 2008 - Hi. I took a picture of a plant/wildflower at Reimer's Ranch near Dripping SPrings and have been unable to identify it. I searched through the plant database but am having difficulty. Can I send y...
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree along Austin highways
April 01, 2011 - I am trying to identify a large tree seen along many Austin Highways. The best ID can find is Western Soapberry, but the articles all specify white blooms. The trees I see have purple clusters of bloo...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
September 30, 2007 - We found this plant or something or other in our yard, in the area we found it usually stays wet and it was behind a old tree that was done. It has three big green leaves with a white stem that kind ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 16, 2011 - I have a photo of a shrubby plant with large spines. Is there a way for me to attach it? I'm having trouble identifying it. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

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