Rent Shop 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

Saturday - June 18, 2011

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

QUESTION:

Hello- I would like to know what is this plant? It grows in part to full sun over a large area; gray fuzzy, quilted, pointed leaves. It is now about 6-10" tall plants but there are untrimmed 24-30" dried stalks. The gray-green stalks are starting to show tiny clusters of flower heads surrounding the stem near the top. So far, they have had only rain (not much!). I would attach a photo if I could.. Thank you.

ANSWER:

This sounds like Verbascum thapsus (common mullein).  It is an introduced plant from Eurasia and Africa and is considerered invasive or noxious over most of North America; however, herbalists are enthusiastic about its medicinal properties and these properties are probably why early settler's to North America imported it sometime in the late 1700s.  Here are more photos and information.

If this doesn't appear to be your plant, please visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that accept photos for identification.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identity of rejuvenated plant
May 19, 2012 - I am having trouble identifying my plant which has lived at least two years now, often looking completely dead, actually hibernating for a few weeks then bursting back to life. Small sprouts that grow...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
August 26, 2011 - I have found a small tree like plant that is small and the stem or trunk was thin and the leaves look like fern leaves. I also found a larger one it was thicker and closer to the ground the leaves wer...
view the full question and answer

Removing faded flowers from plants in Georgetown, DE
July 28, 2012 - I bought a chamase rose quartz that was in bloom. now the buds are dead, should i remove them or just leave them on the plant. they wont just fall off. and the tips of the plant has new growth.
view the full question and answer

Name for paloverde look-alike near Colorado Springs
July 26, 2011 - I don't know where this plant comes from. However, I am wondering what the name of plant of the following description would be. It is a shrub, about 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. It grows in zone 6 t...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
September 20, 2014 - I was recently visiting Texas and kept seeing a particular plant in drainage bottoms and wetland areas (note these areas at the time of my visit were very dry). I was hoping you might be able to help...
view the full question and answer

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