Sometimes when we see plants, even when we're out of our own growing area, they look so familiar we say, "That has to be a (insert plant name) or some close relative!" However, we frequently look it up only to find that the plant is not (insert plant name). That is when the fun begins.

We're working on identifying this plant, possibly a native of the North American desert Southwest. The specimen we saw was about three feet tall and blooming in winter.

We've been working our way through plant families to narrow it down. That is, we look at the flower and say "Its structure is like (name of plant family) and then we scan our references for members of that family in this color and bloom time -- the Internet is a help, with Image search!

We've narrowed this down to probably being in the figwort family, a very diverse group that includes not only figworts but diascia, mullein and butterfly bush. It may be in the Leucophyllum genus with Texas sage. Email us at info@GardenAtoZ.com if you recognize it, and save us some work.

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