Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

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.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Friday - January 10, 2014

From: Cambria, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives, Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification of bamboo-like plant in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We just bought a house in Cambria, CA. The plant I'd like to ID grows like bamboo -- spreading fibrous stalks abt 6' high with beautiful orange blossoms that protrude out the top of the stalk. The shoots grow out of a bulb or tuber or rhizome (don't know, but definitely bulb-type) & spread. It has rather large leaves with pink & green stripes. The stalks are not leafy, they look exactly like purplish bamboo & the leaves grow out from them. Any help would be much appreciated.

ANSWER:

This sounds like a canna plant.  Canna striata is a good candidate.  Here are more photos from Missouri Botanical GardenCanna 'Bengal Tiger' is another possibility.  Here are photos of other canna varieties from GardenPhotos.com.  Here are photos and information about another variety, Canna indica and a hybrid of Canna indica and the Florida native, Canna flaccida, called Canna x generalis.

Canna species are native to tropical and sub-tropical Central and South America.  There are two North American native species of canna—Canna flaccida (Bandanna of the everglades) occurring in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and South Carolina and Canna glauca (Water canna) in Louisiana and Texas.  Here are photos and more information about Canna flaccida.  Canna species have been extensively hybridized and now many varieties grow all over the world—in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia.

If this doesn't happen to be the plant that is in your garden, please visit our Plant Identificaion page where you will find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants for identification.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

New thorn/bush tree in Central Texas
September 23, 2013 - In Central Texas, over the last 5 years we have seen a new variety of thorn bush appear. It has very long thorns much like mesquite tree but thorns are every inch or so along the branches. The tree is...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
September 21, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, Hopefully you can help identify the following plant. I've had a bush type of weed growing near my hay feeder for the cows this year that's about 2' tall has massive spikes o...
view the full question and answer

Where do snake herb and skeleton-leaf goldeneye get their names?
October 05, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Where does snake herb, and skeleton leaf goldeneye get their names from? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Plant ID from Chicago
August 18, 2010 - When I was hiking in Portland, OR, my friend had me eat a leaf off of a trail-side plant. It tasted very much like sour apple, it was delicious. It has average-sized green leaves and in July it had no...
view the full question and answer

Is there an App for that?
June 05, 2012 - Do you have an app like leafsnap that my students can use to identify the plants around our school? I would like them to take a picture of the leaf of each plant with their iPads and have your data b...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.