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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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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.

 
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Saturday - August 10, 2013

From: Pearland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Plant Identification from Pearland TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am looking for a native plant; was told it was called Hummingbird Weed. Came from Coryell County. I let mine freeze and cannot find more. It has long spikes with small red trumpet-shaped blooms on the end, all pointing up, from green leaves and stems. Have a picture if you would like to see it.

ANSWER:

We are sorry, we can no longer accept pictures, but we have one good idea of what that plant might be. Follow this plant link, Ipomopsis rubra (Standing cypress), to our webpage on it, and see if it fits your description. Also, we have included several pictures (below) from our Image Gallery. This particular member of the Mr. Smarty Plants Team is not an identification expert, so if I missed the mark, contact us again. Someone else on the Team who is much better at identification will pick it up and send you better information.This USDA Plant Profile Map shows it native to Harris County, and right next to Fort Bend and Brazoria Counties, into which we understand Pearland also extends, so we feel the appropriate climate, rainfall and soils are available for the Standing Cypress. However, the same map does not show it growing natively in Coryell County, from which you said your plant came, but that doesn't mean it won't grow there, it just means it hasn't been reported growing there.

From our webpage:

"The stiff, unbranched, 2-4 ft. stem of this sparsely leaved biennial can reach 6 ft. Showy, red, tubular flowers, widely flaring at the rim, are marked with orange or yellowish spots inside. Flowers are arranged in a thick spike, opening from the tip of the stem downward."

We would like to mention that this plant is a biennial, which means, if grown from seed, it will bloom the second spring after planting. If you dug up a plant and transplanted it, if it did not drop seeds for some reason is may not have come up again, or possibly it has, and you don't recognize it as the mature plant.

 

From the Image Gallery


Standing cypress
Ipomopsis rubra

Standing cypress
Ipomopsis rubra

Standing cypress
Ipomopsis rubra

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