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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 - April 30, 2013

From: Huntsville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of three-petaled lilac colored flower in Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I found a single bloom. It has three petals, lilac colored with white spots toward the center with purple dots. The stamens are a greenish color. Bloom has an iris appearance. Can't find it in my Texas Wildflowers book by Campbell and Lynn Loughmiller. Yesterday I discovered Frog Fruit along the roadside. It too isn't in their book. Can you identify the lilac flower?

ANSWER:

From your description it sounds as if you found Herbertia lahue (Prairie nymph) or the bluer variety,  Herbertia lahue ssp. caerulea (Prairie nymph).  Here are photos from Southeastern Flora.  You are right that it isn't in Campbell and Lynn Loughmiller's 1984 book, Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide or in the 2006 edition with revisions by Damon Waitt.

Another possibility is Alophia drummondii (Propeller flower).  This wildflower is in the Loughmiller's book—in the 2006 revised edition on page 135 and in the earlier edition on page 108.

 

From the Image Gallery


Prairie nymph
Herbertia lahue

Prairie nymph
Herbertia lahue

Prairie nymph
Herbertia lahue

Propeller flower
Alophia drummondii

Propeller flower
Alophia drummondii

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