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

Wednesday - September 22, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Austin. Texas. My garden has been lying fallow for several seasons and earlier this week I started clearing the weeds and wild flowers in hopes of getting our vegetable garden started again. During the time that it has been unattended a plant that Im not familiar with has taken over the garden. And I hope you can help me identify the plant. This is a sprawling plant that grows from one root system. The stems reach up to 6 ft in length. The stems are coarse but do not root where they touch the ground. The leaves are opposing and most grow on small stems six to eight inches long that grow off of the main stem. The small stems are alternating on the main stem. The flowers are compound, very small the total compound head is in diameter and bright magenta colored. The flowers seem to close during the heat of the day. This plant has a thick tap root to 3/8 in diameter with horizontal roots that branch off near the surface of the soil. The horizontal roots are also about thick. The leaf and stem resemble Japanese honeysuckle. My wife calls this the weed from hell and I tend to agree. You cant pull it up because the stems break off at the top of the root. Ive been digging each root up. It makes you wish for nut grass. Thanks for any help you can give me with this. Ive gone through several searches on line for the plant but have not found anything close.

ANSWER:

The plant you describe sounds fascinating and frustrating, but from your description nothing comes to mind.  However, if you will send us photos, we will do our very best to identify it for you.  Please visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page to read the instructions for submitting photos.  Please follow the instructions carefully and please make sure your photos are in good focus before you submit them.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
June 12, 2014 - We live in Magnolia TX and have a shrub we can't identify. It's evergreen and has waxy leaves with a serrated edge that are about an inch in length. They have pink flowers and they grow to ab...
view the full question and answer

Is there a Salvia azurea var. alba?
February 03, 2008 - Is there a Salvia azurea var. alba?
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
July 06, 2008 - I am trying to identify a small tree or large plant here in Indiana. I have seen it from 6 ft to as tall as 15 to 20. It is a green leaf with pink cone shaped growth at the ends of a branch. The co...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
August 03, 2008 - 6 2 ft. spikes appeared in an infertile part of my garden. They have a huge quantity of very tiny ochid-like flowers, mostly white with pink tinge. I took it to the master gardeners here and no one co...
view the full question and answer

Identification of seedlings
December 20, 2014 - So..last spring I spread out a bag of random Texas wildflower seed I bought at Home Depot. Bautiful things happened. Since that time I've collected seeds while out camping etc and just been chunking ...
view the full question and answer

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