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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 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!

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Saturday - April 21, 2012

From: Kirtland, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identity of plant with cluster of bell-shaped flowers and 2 leaves
Answered by: Nan Hampton


In Kirtland, Ohio. Clay soil. Woodsy, moist area. Stem sticks up about 6 inches; stem is bare except for top inch, where 2 leaves and cluster of white drooping bell-like flowers appear. Ball-shaped blossom is a cluster of 8-10 white elongated bell shaped flowers, each approx 1 1/4" long.Not a wintergreen. We have lived here 28 years and never saw them before. 3/30/12. We have photo but don't know how to submit it. Thanks.


 I've combined the two questions you submitted and I am sorry it has taken me such a long time to respond; but, frankly, I am stumped!  I have tried doing a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database choosing "Ohio" from the Select State or Province option, "Herb" from Habit (general appearance), "White" from Bloom Color, and "Moist" under Soil Moisture.  The only plants I could find that vaguely resembled your description were:

Cardamine cordifolia (Heartleaf bittercress)

Cardamine diphylla [syn. Dentaria diphylla] (Crinkleroot)


You should try the same search and also try varying some of the other characteristics that match the plant or the area where it was growing.

I've looked through the Ohio, Illinois and Indiana wildflower guides that I own, but have found nothing to match your description.

I've also searched on the The Native Plant Society of Northeastern Ohio page, Wildflowers of Ohio in US Wildflower's Database, Northwest Ohio Nature by flower color, Minnesota Wildflowers site by flower color, Michigan Wildflowers page by thumbnail photos, Photos of Wetland Plants from Michigan and the Upper Midwest, and Ontario Wildflowers by flower color. Again, I could not find a plant that matched, but I recommend that you search these databases, too.

Unfortunately, we no can no longer accept photos for identification.  We loved doing it but we were overwhelmed with photos (plus our regular Mr. Smarty Plants questions) and we don't have enough staff and volunteers to handle it.   We do offer links to several different plant identity forums on our Plant Identification page that do accept photos for identification.

Good luck with your search and I'm sorry I couldn't identify your plant.


From the Image Gallery

Heartleaf bittercress
Cardamine cordifolia

Cardamine diphylla

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