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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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Monday - August 29, 2011

From: Chicago, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant Identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi- I am currently am AP Biology student and have two plants left to identify that I found at a lily pool in Chicago. Can you help me identify them? One I believe is a fern, the other a flower. Thanks!

ANSWER:

Sorry, but we no longer accept photos of plants for identification.  We were overwhelmed with photos and don't have enough staff and volunteers to do the research to identify the plants in the photos.  As you can read on our Plant Identification page:

"We would love to spend all day identifying native plants for you folks! However, we already spend all day (and most of the night) answering your native plant questions. Luckily, there are some excellent forums available to help you identify those mysterious unknowns."

We are sometimes able to identify plants from descriptions, but it isn't too likely we could with only a description—especially with ferns.  Your best bet is to visit our Plant Identification page where you will find links to several plant identification forums that accept photos for identification. 

You might also contact someone at the Northeast Chapter of the Illinois Native Plant Society.

You can also use our Native Plant Database to search for the identity of the plants yourself.  Choose COMBINATION SEARCH and enter Illinois in the Select State or Province option and then you can two searches: 

1) select "Fern" from the Habit (general appearance) option and "Moist - " or "Wet - " from Soil Moisture

2)  select "Herb" from Habit (general appearance) and and "Moist - " or "Wet - " from Soil Moisture.   If you have a flower color for the herb, you can add that and the time it was blooming under Bloom Time and Bloom Color.

 

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