Rent Shop 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

Tuesday - July 03, 2012

From: Portland, OR
Region: Northwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Plant Identification
Title: Flower with spike of yellow flowers with hairy purple filaments
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Fuzzy purple stamens! I can't find this plant identified anywhere. Blooms abt 1" or a little more across. 5 yellow petals, 5 sepals, & 5 stamens with yellow anthers, & the filaments are covered with long purple hairs. Blooms whorled around a spike 2-4' tall, seen next to wetland & in a meadow. Blooms are quickly followed by large hard capsules. A clasping, cordate to ovate leaf beneath each flower-stem. What the heck is this lovely thing, and I hope hope hope it's native!

ANSWER:

This does sound like a beautiful plant.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find it in our Native Plant Database.  The plants that do come to mind, however, are the Verbascum species.  They are about 2 feet tall with spikes of yellow flowers.  In particular, Verbascum blattaria (moth mullein) is described as having hairy purple stamen filaments.  The flower petals can be yellow or white tinged with pink.   It is not, unfortunately, a native plant but an introduced species from Eurasia.  Its distribution includes nearly all of North America and it appears on the Colorado State List of Noxious Weeds.  There are other species of Verbascum, all introduced, that occur in North America and some even occur in Oregon, but none have the hairy purple filaments like those of V. blattaria.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
December 20, 2011 - I am new to Florida and can't find the identification of one of my plants anywhere. It's an unattractive plant that is stick-like, very rubbery - it reminds me of a stick-bug. I have a small one i...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
April 07, 2011 - Comal County, Texas. Trying to identify a plant found growing in Comal Co. It was growing along the ground, with long, spiky leaves, and a ball of green flowers with a dark purple/brown 5 pointed sta...
view the full question and answer

Horsemint for Connecticut
July 01, 2015 - Will horsemint grow in Connecticut?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification from Griffin, GA
July 05, 2010 - We live in Georgia and we found a mystery plant growing next to our garage. It is a short tree with non-waxy, oblong, dark green leaves. The fruit or berries are not clustered and start out green but...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification from Parkersburg WV
March 24, 2014 - My wife found this flower on March 22nd, growing on a hillside partly shaded a few yards from our home. No one we have spoken to has ever seen it before,and we would love to identify it. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

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