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

Monday - July 11, 2005

From: Indianapolis, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Smarty Plants on Smoke Tree
Answered by: Joe Marcus and Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Indianapolis Indiana and there is this wonderful tree on my street which has the most unusual flowers that I've ever seen. They look like pink and white fiber optics. Spencer gift stores used to sell these fiber optic lights that look like this tree's flowers. Pink delicate colored hair-like balls that seem to float all over the tree every spring. Does anyone have a clue what the name of this tree is, or where I might be able to find some close-up photo's of its flowers? I can't figure out any better way to describe these blossoms they are unlike any tree blossom I have ever seen. I was thinking that maybe they were the "Smoke Tree" or "Smoke Bush", but I looked at several photos of those (Google search "Smoke Tree") and they didn't really look right, but then again there were no close up shots of the blooms themselves. If you have any ideas please email me. Have a terrific day and God Bless.

ANSWER:

Your "fiber optic" tree sounds like Albizia julibrissin, Silktree or Mimosa Tree. Be sure to select "Search Images" from the menu at the top of that page to see more pictures. You can also see more pictures on the Duke University web page.
 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of Verbesina occidentalis (Yellow crownbeard) in Burnet County TX
November 23, 2015 - Looked up (small) yellow crownbeard..yellow, no description or pic. Csn you tell me if this is what is in this pic? THX! Can't insert a pic to say y/n. 😟it's in Burnet, Co..SE of Marble Fal...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification, Chinese Lantern
September 06, 2007 - I have a plant growing along my fenceline that I am unsure of what it is. Some ppl have said it is a rare Chinese Lantern plant. I looked that up and it doesn't match. The plant right now sits about ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
November 30, 2010 - I have had a plant for 37 years! It is a vine with leaves that grow in groups of three and they typically have 5 points. The leaves are dark green and shiny. I would love to know what this old friend ...
view the full question and answer

Poison ivy in Hilliard OH?
June 15, 2009 - I found a plant with five jagged leaves growing close to the ground in the trees of Ohio. Is this poison ivy or a similar plant?
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant with purple flower and tomato-like fruit
April 24, 2012 - Along the Lake Erie shoreline in Buffalo there is a summer blooming plant with a purple flower and hard flattened tomato like fruit, diameter of a quarter. It has pretty small green leaves with fine ...
view the full question and answer

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