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
3 ratings

Tuesday - July 05, 2011

From: Roanoke, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Plant identification of shrub with thorns and purple flowers
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a small tree or shrub, it has very small or thin thorns on the branches. It blooms in April / May. The flowers are purple. My mother-in-law said that it has been around for over 100 years, but she can not recall the name. Can you help?

ANSWER:

Well, maybe.  So far I haven't been able to find your plant although I've consulted with several people about it and searched our Native Plant Database for it.  If it is a North American native plant (although I have my doubts) you might recognize it in our Native Plant Database.  You, yourself, can do a COMBINATION SEARCH choosing 'Indiana' from Select State or Province, 'Shrub' or 'Tree' from Habit (general appearance) and 'Pink', 'Blue', 'Purple' and 'Violet' from Bloom Characteristics–Color.  You will need to do two searches—one using 'Shrub' and the other using 'Tree'. If you can't find it in our Native Plant Database, it is likely that your tree or shrub is an introduced ornamental. Since our focus and expertise are with plants native to North America, we won't be able to help you identify introduced ornamentals.  For introduced ornamentals we recommend that you take photos of the plant and submit them to one of the plant identification forums whose links are on our Plant Identification page.  Be sure that you read the notes about submitting images for identification.   Good luck finding the identity of your plant.

 

More Trees Questions

Replacement for trees destroyed by Hurricane Ike
March 28, 2009 - We had a 23 year old elm tree in our front yard that was uprooted from Hurricane Ike (about 50 feet tall)..can you tell us what the replacement costs for that would be? Also we had a 20 foot live oak ...
view the full question and answer

Poolside plants for East Texas
June 18, 2015 - What are the best plants, shrubs, ornamental trees, etc. for poolside planting in East Texas?
view the full question and answer

Distance apart to plant Arizona ash trees in El Paso, TX
July 01, 2010 - How far apart can I plant two Arizona ash trees?
view the full question and answer

Native trees that will thrive in Amarillo, TX
April 04, 2010 - I need help in finding native Texas trees that will do well in Amarillo's low water and extreme temps.
view the full question and answer

Possible identification of Physocarpus opulifolius
June 11, 2007 - Can you please tell me what kind of tree has a maple leaf and a white snowball flower?The young and very small tree was already here when i bought my home,it stands only 7 feet tall with a 2 inch t...
view the full question and answer

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