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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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Tuesday - January 08, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Wildflower Center
Title: Identification of pink flower photographed at the Wildflower Center
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Last August I took a photo at the Wildflower Center and now I'm trying to identify it. The flower has many pink petals that either stick straight out or downward and the center has pink frills edging white. Within the white area are dark spikes with pink at the ends. A stem of the flower may be split with several flowers at the end. The stems have fine hairs on them. What is the best way to identify this flower?

ANSWER:

If you visit our Recommended Species page, you will find a section, WILDFLOWER CENTER: GARDENS, with links to a master list of all plants grown at the Wildflower Center and a list for each of several of the named sections of our gardens.  When you open one of the lists you can use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to search the list by flower color and for other criteria (such as bloom time) that you think will help you find your flower.

I did such a search and the best match to the description you give is:

Palafoxia callosa (Small palafox)

Here are more photos of Palafoxia callosa from School of Biological Sciences at the University of Texas, Ozark Edge Wildflowers, and Missouri Plants.

In case that isn't the flower you photographed, here are a few other possibilites below that match your description somewhat.  You should also try the search yourself to be sure I didn't miss your flower.

Dalea purpurea var. purpurea (Purple prairie clover)

Gaura lindheimeri (Lindheimer's beeblossom)

Mimosa roemeriana (Roemer's mimosa)

Monarda citriodora (Lemon beebalm)

Monarda fistulosa (Wild bergamot)

Rivina humilis (Pigeonberry)

Vernonia baldwinii (Baldwin's ironweed)

Vernonia lindheimeri (Woolly ironweed)

 

From the Image Gallery


Sand palafox
Palafoxia hookeriana

Small palafox
Palafoxia callosa

Purple prairie clover
Dalea purpurea var. purpurea

White gaura
Oenothera lindheimeri

Roemer's mimosa
Mimosa roemeriana

Lemon beebalm
Monarda citriodora

Wild bergamot
Monarda fistulosa

Pigeonberry
Rivina humilis

Western ironweed
Vernonia baldwinii

Woolly ironweed
Vernonia lindheimeri

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