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
1 rating

Saturday - August 28, 2010

From: Salida, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification of ethereal plant in Colorado
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We live in the south central mountains of Colorado in the upper Arkansas River valley near Salida, Colorado. During the past few weeks we have noticed a very mystic looking plant (flower/grass?) along the roads and trails, mixed in with other native grasses and flowers. But this plant looks like a spider web and when the sun shines on it early in the morning with dew, it appears to be "ground fog", very ethereal and unusual. There are very large patches of it, but it seems to be centered in appx. a 5 square mile area. I can't remember ever seeing it, or anyway noticing it this way, before. Ideas?

ANSWER:

Here are a few possibilities for plants in your area with an ethereal look. 

Fallugia paradoxa (Apache plume)

Elymus elymoides ssp. brevifolius (squirreltail)

Eragrostis trichodes (sand lovegrass) and here are photos.

Muhlenbergia mexicana (Mexican muhly) and here are photos.

If none of these happens to be what you are seeing, please take photos and send them to us and we will do our best to identify the plant.  Visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page to read instructions for submitting photos.  We will definitely need closeups of the plants, as well as a photo showing the overall effect of the plants, in order to be able to identify them.


Fallugia paradoxa

Elymus elymoides ssp. brevifolius

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
December 06, 2007 - I had a coworker bring back a branch of tree from San Antonio and the end of the branch fans out into a drapery type structure about a foot long with bud looking things all over it, almost fungally lo...
view the full question and answer

Identification of Swamp Rose (Rosa palustris) in Atlanta
May 28, 2006 - I live in metro Atlanta. I have a rose variety growing wild in the woods that resembles a Cherokee Rose except it is pink and has seven leaves on the stem. Can you identify it from this description? T...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
July 19, 2013 - My nephew bought an old farmhouse in Southeast Texas. There is a plant there that has glossy leaves similar to a lemon leaf. I cannot tell from the pic if it is a shrub or a vine. It is blooming now, ...
view the full question and answer

Is Goldenball leadtree really evergreen, as we state?
January 17, 2016 - Please would you confirm that Goldenball leadtree Leucaena retusa is evergreen as stated on this website and not deciduous as stated by Wasowski in Native Texas Plants? Thanks
view the full question and answer

Difference between vetch and woolly loco
April 29, 2006 - What is the difference between vetch and woolly loco?
view the full question and answer

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