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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.

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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.

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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.

 
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Wednesday - June 01, 2011

From: Little Elm, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identity of yellow thistle-like plant
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr.Smarty Plants, I see this flower along the road but I can't seem to find it on your website. It looks like a yellow thistle and it is a panicle and a head. It is about a foot tall. Do you know what it's name is? Cordially.

ANSWER:

I think the best bet for your plant that looks like a yellow thistle is Centaurea melitensis (Malta star-thistle).  You won't find it in our Native Plant Database since it is a non-native invasive plant introduced from Europe and North Africa.  It has been reported from many states and provinces in North America.  Although it hasn't been reported specifically from Denton County, it has been reported from nearby Ellis County.  Here are more photos.

There is a native thistle, Cirsium horridulum (Yellow thistle), that you will find in our database.  It has been reported in Denton County.  It isn't always yellow, however, and usually grows considerably taller than one foot.  Here are some photos of this thistle with yellow, rather than pink, blossoms.

If one of these isn't the plant you have seen, you can find links on our Plant Identification page to plant forums where you can submit photos (if you have them) for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


Bristle thistle
Cirsium horridulum

Bristle thistle
Cirsium horridulum

Bristle thistle
Cirsium horridulum

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