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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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Sunday - June 02, 2013

From: Willow Park, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Groundcovers
Title: Identity of groundcover in Parker County, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I'm trying to identify a native "groundcover" that looks much like frogfruit, as far as the leaves and growth pattern, but has small yellow flowers that look like little lanterns as buds. I know it's not horseherb, got plenty of that. PS Anyone looking for frogfruit should look along the country roads of Parker County. You can pull it up by the fistfuls as you walk, and transplant it when you get home..tough, tough plant.

ANSWER:

Here are a few low-growing plants that grow in or near Parker County that sound somewhat similar to the groundcover you describe.

Lesquerella fendleri (Fendler's bladderpod)

Oenothera laciniata (Cutleaf evening-primrose)

Oxalis dillenii (Slender yellow woodsorrel)

Potentilla simplex (Common cinquefoil)

Sedum nuttallianum (Yellow stonecrop)

I found these by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database, choosing "Texas" from Select State or Province, "Herb" under Habit (general appearance), "Yellow" under Bloom Color and "0-1 ft" under Height.  To determine whether the plants on the list occurred in or near Parker County in Texas, on  the species page for each likely-looking species I scrolled to the bottom to the ADDITIONAL RESOURCES area and clicked on the USDA link.   On the USDA page for the plant I clicked on Texas on the distribution map to get the county distribution for the state.  If you click on the Texas county distribution map again, it will name the counties.  You should try the same search yourself to be sure I didn't overlook a likely plant.

If none of these is the plant you have seen and you have (or can take) photos of it, please visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


Fendler's bladderpod
Lesquerella fendleri

Cutleaf evening-primrose
Oenothera laciniata

Slender yellow wood sorrel
Oxalis dillenii

Common cinquefoil
Potentilla simplex

Yellow stonecrop
Sedum nuttallianum

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