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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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Tuesday - May 15, 2012

From: Riverhead, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Plant Identification, Vines
Title: Identification of vine in New York
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a flowering vine that grows against my home and I'm not sure what it is, but it's beautiful with a delicate scent. The flowers look like clusters of mini purple pea pods hanging downward before they bloom into lavender petals. The vine is a good 20-25 feet tall already and grows along the east side where there's partial sun.

ANSWER:

Below are the native vines that I found in our Native Plant Database that occur in Suffolk County, New York that somewhat match your description.   None of the descriptions of these plants mention their scent; however, that doesn't mean they don't have a delicate scent.   You might like to try a search to see the New York native vines for yourself.  On the Native Plant Database do a COMBINATION SEARCH choosing "New York" from the Select State or Province option and "Vine" from Habit (general appearance).  This will produce a list of 60 vines native to New York.  You can limit the results even more by adding other characteristics.

Galactia volubilis (Downy milkpea)

Lathyrus japonicus var. maritimus (Beach pea)

Lathyrus palustris (Marsh pea) and here are more photos and information.

Strophostyles helvola (Amberique-bean) and here are more photos and information.

Strophostyles umbellata (Pink fuzzybean) and here are more photos and information.

It is entirelly possible that your plant is not a native of North America and, thus, would not appear in our Native Plant Database.  If none of the plants listed above appears to be your plant, you can take photos and submit them to one of plant identification forums listed on our Plant Identification page.

 

From the Image Gallery


Downy milkpea
Galactia volubilis

Beach pea
Lathyrus japonicus var. maritimus

Marsh pea
Lathyrus palustris

Trailing fuzzybean
Strophostyles helvola

Pink fuzzybean
Strophostyles umbellata

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