Roots, Shoots, Fruits & Flowers: Purple Magnolia Flower, Dollarweed, Stinkhorn Mushroom, and Indian Mock Strawberries.


The bloom of an Oriental Magnolia. Photo: Angela Whittenberg.

Purple Magnolia Flower

Again, a gardener asks for assistance for identifying an ornamental tree. Angela sent this email, “We moved into a new to us property last April. I have been watching this Magnolia tree and looking forward to bloom time. I am always one to try to figure out what variety a tree or plant is. This tree is less than 12 ft tall and did not put on much, if any growth last year after we moved in. These blooms are large and full. Dark purple on the outside of a petal and stark white inside. No scent to the flowers. The leaves were a medium green. If you have any opinions on which Magnolia variety this is, I'd appreciate it.” She also sent in several attractive images of this bloom.

Mr. Rick Bogren and Dr. Allen Owings, retired AgCenter horticulturist, wrote about this ornamental tree, “The Oriental magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana) is one of the most spectacular of the spring-flowering trees because its flowers are so large.

Unlike the evergreen Southern magnolia, the Oriental magnolia is deciduous and loses its leaves in winter. Appearing before the foliage in February and early March, the fragrant flowers are tulip-shaped and 4 to 6 inches across. They may be flushed pale pink to purple on the outside and white on the inside.

Long-lived and reliable, Oriental magnolias grow 15 to 20 feet tall and need a sunny, well-drained location.”


Dollarweed has round leaves. Photo: Kayla Sanders, LSU AgCenter.


Lisa is fighting an infestation of a common lawn weed and writes, “Can you please tell me how to get rid of a yard FULL of dollar weed? I used Weed & Feed twice last year and it did nothing. I do have a shady moist back yard; holds water during bad storms. Also, when is the best time to apply products?

Do any of the Scott’s products work? Thank you for your assistance in this matter.”

AHA shared this information with Lisa, “Dollarweed likes wet feet so it would be hard to control. I have had good response from Image™ with atrazine and with Spectracide™ with 2,4-D on broadleaf weeds, but I was treating for lawn burweed.

The ‘weed and feed’ is best applied during growing season. If you applied ‘weed & feed’ now, then your lawn will turn green on the nice, warm winter days and then if a freeze comes, then your lawn will look burned.

Scotts Weed Control™ for Weeds has 2,4-D as an active ingredient and would be a good product if you apply as directed.”


Chambered stinkhorn mushroom. Photo: Keith Hawkins, LSU AgCenter.

Stinkhorn Mushroom

John of Fishville called the AgCenter concerned about the possibility of poison fire coral, an exotic, toxic mushroom, at his homesite. Last year, citizens were concerned about mystery seeds and a coronavirus from China, so John concern seemed sincere.

AHA made a site visit with John and took some pictures to forward to a mycologist, or fungi specialist.

Mr. David Lewis, President of the Gulf States Mycological Society (, examined images of John’s mushrooms and identified them, “These are the chambered stinkhorn, Clathrus columnatus, [and are] common in mulch in the winter.” AHA called John with the good news that his mushrooms are native and not an exotic, toxic mushroom from Asia.


The fruit of the Indian mock strawberry. Photo: Kayla Sanders, LSU AgCenter.

Indian Mock Strawberries

Tom Collins, a Master Gardener from Texas, wrote about the chambered stinkhorn in a newsletter, “Some common names include stalked lattice stinkhorn or chambered stinkhorn. I like the name Lantern or Goat Head. The black areas on the cap are the spores. Flies are drawn to the foul smell and eat the spores. Some spores remain on their legs and will be spread after the flies move on.”

Carolyn asked for guidance for controlling a cool season weed, “How do you get rid of wild strawberries without killing other plants and grass?”

Killing wild strawberries, also called Indian mock strawberries (IMS), in grass is easier than in among other plants, like bedding plants. You can use Weed B Gon™ or Image™ (with atrazine) or Spectracide™ (with 2,4-D). These products will kill broad-leaf weeds in lawns.

For control of IMS in bedding plants, there the “glove method”. You would need a rubber glove and then cover with a cotton glove. Dip the gloved hand into one of the products listed above and wipe the strawberry plants to avoid damaging your desirable plants. Also, using a paint brush would work as well as the “glove method”.

If you want to contact Roots, Shoots, Fruits and Flowers, please send your questions and pictures to Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 337-463-7006 or Also, you can be on the “green thumbs” email list by emailing your request to the address above.

“Before you buy or use an insecticide product, first read the label, and strictly follow label recommendations. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by Louisiana State University AgCenter.”

“This work has been supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Renewable Resources Extension Act Award, Accession Number 1011417.”

2/11/2021 9:08:55 PM
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