Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Wednesday - June 06, 2012

From: Grand Prairie, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant similar to a cattail
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I don't know where this plant grows normally, but I am looking for a plant that is similar to a cat tail, but the petals are not feathery, they are red and waxy and the petals are round almost. Please help. I am trying to find a plant like this for my mom. Thank you.

ANSWER:

First of all, I am not sure if you are talking about the plants named cattails—Typha domingensis (Southern cattail) and Typha latifolia (Broadleaf cattail)—or plants that have a blossom or leaves similar to the tail of a feline.  At any rate, neither possibility brings to mind a native North American plant to me—our expertise and focus are with plants native to North America.   I think your best bet is to visit a very good nursery and describe and possibly draw a picture of the plant you are looking for.   It is very likely that the plant you are looking for is not a native plant and perhaps conversation with a nursery person could give them a good idea about what the plant is.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification of 3-leaf plant with red berries in Utah
July 27, 2011 - I would like to send you a picture to ID a 3 leaf plant with red berries. Could you give me an email to do that? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Information about plant called Josephs tears, possibly Jobs tears (Coix lacryma-jobi)
October 08, 2007 - I recently received a plant and was told it was a succulent called Joseph's Tears. According to the individual who gave it to me, during the month of September it develops a little growth at the tip...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification in Tennessee
September 02, 2008 - I live in upper East Tennessee and all my life I have seen a flowering bush we call a Bubbie (or Bubby). It grows to an average approximate height of 6 feet and blooms in the early summer. The blooms ...
view the full question and answer

Carolina allspice (Calycanthus floridus) in Jasper TX
October 27, 2011 - Carolina allspice (calycanthus floridus) grows in my yard in East Texas. It is native to the eastern U.S., but I notice there is a variety whose distribution extends through Louisiana. Since I live in...
view the full question and answer

Will Butterfly Plant Survive in Mansfield, Texas
January 06, 2012 - I have a butterfly plant that was very successful (about 4 feet tall) right up until the cold snap three weeks ago. I've read they have a tap root, so I'm hoping it will come back next spring. Mea...
view the full question and answer

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