En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - July 25, 2014

From: Nederland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany
Title: The Designation of Annual and Perennial Plants
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Sometimes when researching a plant I will find it listed as both annual and perennial. I understand that some plants will be perennial in a warm climate and die in a colder zone, but it is still a perennial that is grown out of it's preferred environment.

ANSWER:

Plants that are perennials in warm climates but are not hardy in colder climates are there considered "tender perennials", but are sometimes termed "annuals" in those areas even though they are not technically annuals.  Likewise, some cool-climate annual plants will survive more than one year in warm areas.  Finally, some plants may complete their life cycle in one growing season or they may require more than one growing season to do so.  Those species can be considered both annual and perennial because they may behave either way.  As it turns out, plants are incredibly complicated organisms.

 

More General Botany Questions

Withering plants recover with water
February 17, 2008 - Why do withering plants stand up when you give them water?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on aceae
March 21, 2005 - How is the family suffix "-aceae", as in Asteraceae, pronounced? I find disagreeing claims in my searches- "ay-see-ee" and "ay-see-ay" seem to be the most common, but I've also seen just "ay-...
view the full question and answer

Plants named for Thomas Drummond
February 09, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Please send list of plants discovered and named for Thomas Drummond.
view the full question and answer

What caused purple heartwood in my Tuliptree?
June 15, 2009 - My Tulip tree was hit by lightning and all bark from the base of the tree up to 50 feet was blown off. The tree also sustained a significant crack through the trunk. When the tree was cut down, we...
view the full question and answer

Appearance of plants
April 14, 2009 - What is plants appearance?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center