Ask Rosie: July 2023

Posted on Jun 27 2023 in Backyard
Shelley Oberwetter's mystery plant.
Shelley Oberwetter’s mystery plant.


Do you know what this plant is? — Shelley Oberwetter, Culver, Indiana


It would be helpful to know the context of where this plant is located: Is it something you planted in a garden? Or did you find it growing “wild”? Do you notice a strong odor when handling the foliage, said to be camphor-like?

My best guess is common tansy, Tanacetum vulgare var. crispum, an herbaceous perennial that spreads vegetatively by rhizomes. Additional information on common tansy, courtesy of Illinois Wildflower, can be found here:

Steve Clark's tulip tree.
Steve Clark’s tulip tree.


It looks as if we have some type of borer in one of, what I thought was, our healthiest tulip trees.
It appears to be dying, and I was hoping that there might be a way to save it. We’ve started watering it extensively, put down a bit of fertilizer (14-14-14, I think), and added some mulch to keep moisture around the roots. Any advice is welcome!  — Steve Clark, Tippecanoe County


Wow, that’s quite a bit of damage. I can’t tell anything specific from the images you sent, but I wonder if there is more than one problem at work here? Is the tree starting to show any signs of regrowth? I suggest you submit a sample to the Purdue Plant and Pest Diagnostic Lab at to get a proper diagnosis. You can start with digital images, and they will advise if they want you to follow up
with physical samples. 

Questions about gardening issues may be sent to “Ask Rosie,” Indiana Connection, 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600, Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606, or use the form at

Longtime Indiana Connection contributor B. ROSIE LERNER, a Tipmont REMC consumer, is a retired Purdue Extension consumer horticulturist.