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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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Friday - August 23, 2013

From: Cranford, NJ
Region: Canada
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identity of purple-leafed plant in formal garden in Quebec City
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I saw a plant in a formal garden in Quebec City that was low growing with purple leaves and clusters of deep purple pods/seeds about the size of grapes.

ANSWER:

Our focus and expertise are with plants native to North America.  Since the plant you saw was growing in a formal garden, It is very unlikely that it is a native plant.   It is more likely an ornamental cultivar introduced from somewhere outside North America.

Now, having told you all that, I will show you a cultivar of the North American native, Capsicum annuum (Chile pequin).  It is called Capsicum annuum 'Black Pearl' and fits your description very well.   Here is a description of it from the US National Arboretum where it was developed.  The leaves are described as black but could certainly be called dark purple.  It is an annual and hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 4-10.  Canadian provinces and cities aren't shown on the USDA Hardiness Zone map, but Quebec City appears to fall in the Zone 4 range on the Canadian Plant Hardiness Zone map.  The fruits are edible and described as hot.

If this isn't the plant you saw and you have a photo of it, please visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that accept photos of plants for identification.

 

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