Contact Us Host an Event 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

Thursday - November 17, 2011

From: Norfolk, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of perennial with dark red/purple flowers
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Need to identify a lovely perennial here in Norfolk, Virginia. It reseeds itself, spreads, and lingers into the late fall. It has rather thick, dark green, alternate spatulate leaves at the base with thin stalks of tiny lovely dark red/purple flowers which look like small beads. Total height is about 18 inches. The "beads" come off the main stalk in alternate arrangements with each bead occupying an end of a fine, hair-like "branch." It is very shallow rooted and the leaves and base are very tender and easily snapped. I was told it was "Jewels of the Nile," but it is not a hosta or the large blue "Jewel of the Nile." I have photos which I can forward if desired. Thank you!

ANSWER:

Searching for your plant, I did a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database and selected "Virginia" from the Select State or Province option, "Herb" from Habit (general appearance), "September", "October" and "November" from Bloom Time and "Red" and "Purple" from Bloom Color.  This resulted in 98 plants native to Virginia, but none of them appeared to match your description.   You should try doing the search yourself to see if, perhaps, I missed it; but, I suspect that your plant is not a North American native.  Since our expertise and focus here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is with North American native plants, we are not the best source for identifying cultivated non-native plants.  If you visit our Plant Identification page, you will find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos for identification.  However, the best option would probably be to contact the Norfolk Master Gardener Association and/or the Norfolk Botanical Garden—sources closer to you that would have expertise in cultivated plants of your area.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant Identification from Round Rock TX
October 26, 2010 - I am looking for the name of a ground cover I saw that looked like large bur oak leaf in a silvery green color. It was in the shade. I tried a search with no luck. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
August 28, 2008 - Hello. There is a plant growing next to my 4 o'clocks that I didn't plant which is almost the same height as them, but has different leaves and it grows wider. It has these huge light green upside d...
view the full question and answer

Is there a variety of bluebonnet called black gumbo
February 04, 2008 - I live in Grimes County, Texas on the eastern edge of the Blackland Prairie. A few years ago my hillside of Bluebonnet seed was harvested. I was told it was a rare 'black gumbo' variety of bluebon...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Jewel of the Nile
June 04, 2005 - My husband and I just returned from a short trip to San Francisco. While on a bus tour that took us to the Twin Peaks area, we saw some beautiful purple flowers growing on the hillside. Our tour guid...
view the full question and answer

What are the differences between Arbutus xalapensis, A. unedo and A. marina
August 29, 2013 - One nursery lists madrone trees as arbutus uneda compacta and arbutus marina. The other lists it as arbutus xalapensis, which is the only name I can find in the data base. There is a very large pric...
view the full question and answer

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