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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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Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
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Thursday - May 03, 2012

From: Louisa, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification, Ferns
Title: Plant identification from Virginia
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We found lots of asparagus like stalks growing randomly in our field here in central Virginia. But, instead of an asparagus head it has a tight cluster of leaves that are small and roundish. Any ideas? Thanks so much

ANSWER:

This was a puzzler until I talked with a friend who suggested the leaves are small and roundish in cross section.   If that is the case, I think I have an answer for you.  I think it is one of the species of Equisetum, a relative of ferns, that occurs in Virginia.  There are three species that might fit your description:

If this isn't the plant you have seen and you do have photos of it, please visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


Field horsetail
Equisetum arvense

Woodland horsetail
Equisetum sylvaticum

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