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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 - May 21, 2013

From: Spring Branch, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Identification of red-topped grass blooming in Comal County
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Comal County and right now (mid May) there is a beautiful, red topped grass growing along the side of country roads. It is maybe 1 foot tall, and waves in the breeze. Do you know what kind of grass it might be?

ANSWER:

The highest probability is Aristida purpurea (Purple threeawn).  It is truly beautiful and native. 

Another possibility is Bothriochloa ischaemum (King Ranch bluestem), an invasive species native Africa, Asia and Europe that is growing along highways near Austin right now.

 

From the Image Gallery


Purple threeawn
Aristida purpurea

Purple threeawn
Aristida purpurea

Purple threeawn
Aristida purpurea

Purple threeawn
Aristida purpurea

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