Contact Us Host an Event 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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - May 17, 2010

From: Tualatin, OR
Region: Northwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Was my grandmother growing a Honeysuckle Bush in Middleton, Idaho?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I would like to know the name of the flowering bush that grew in the backyard of my grandmother's house in Middleton, Idaho. I remember it to be purple in color and had petals with what I used to call "bugles" that hung from underneath the petals. I would tear of the "bugles" and bite off the ends and suck out the nectar. I love this memory, but can't find them in any website/dictionary related to flowers/botany. Thanks for your help.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants has a similar memory from his  youth of sucking nectar from flowers. Oh how sweet! We were in competition with butteflies and moths for the nectar.

The flowers were white and yellow, and the plant was called Honeysuckle.  As you have learned, "bugles" is not a standard botanical term for any flower parts, but there is a honeysuckle known as the trumpet honeysuckle which alludes to the shape of its tubular corolla.

There are numerous species of Honeysuckle, and I have found four that have flowers that range in color from pink, to red, to purple

The pink-flowered honeysuckle is known as Lonicera hispidula (pink honeysuckle) or California honeysuckle . (more images)

The red-flowered honeysuckle is known as Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle) or Coral Honeysuckle.  (more images) Since the distribution of the Coral Honeysuckle extends no farther west than Texas, it probably was not in your grandmother's yard.

A purple-flowered species is Lonicera conjugialis  and it is found in Idaho. (more images)

Another purple-flowered species that is invasive in Idaho and other states in the northwest is Lonicera  tartarica.  (more images)

I hope this helps refresh your memory.

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Smarty Plants on cross pollination
August 16, 2005 - I live in Cosby, TN in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I plant native species of wildflowers and shrubs. My question to you is: I planted cucumbers in raised beds next to t...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of Indian Cane
June 18, 2011 - I live in southern Alabama. We have a plant that is wild but I can not find any info on it. My grandmother called it Indian Cane. The stems are red and you can chew them, they have a sour taste
view the full question and answer

Identification of volunteer tree
April 28, 2011 - I have a volunteer tree in my yard that has a mixture of serrated, non-serrated, and partially-serrated leaves on it. My tree identification guides all assume either serrated or non-serrated. How do...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant known as mosquito plant (Agastache cana)
October 11, 2007 - I received some seeds from an annual plant that came from Bowie, Tx. It has square stems, like mint plants, medium size leaves turns purple when in the sun and had a strong odor when brushed against. ...
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant growing on deck
May 12, 2012 - I can't find the name of a plant that I had on my deck, it didn't come back this year. It was a bush like plant that grew wild, it bloomed May thru August with red small flowers. My deck gets full...
view the full question and answer

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