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
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

Beans growing under artificial light from Vernon CT
May 04, 2012 - What bean plant will grow the best under a flourescent,spot gro light,green transparent light,or Natural light and why.What caused it to grow like it did?
view the full question and answer

Use of the word annual
May 27, 2015 - Why is the word 'annual' used to describe plants with one grow season, when in all other cases it's used to describe things that reoccur year after year? i.e. Events, celebration, salary?
view the full question and answer

Will lead accumulate in the flower nectar of plants used for phytoremediation
January 16, 2009 - I'm attempting to phytoremediate lead in my garden with mustard and/or sunflowers. I also keep bees. I understand that lead is sequestered in roots and stalks. Would the nectar also be contaminate...
view the full question and answer

Plant for science experiment from Kentfield CA
November 10, 2009 - What is a fast growing plant I should use for a science experiment?
view the full question and answer

Correct family classification for Allium cernuum
March 19, 2015 - What is the correct family classification for Allium cernuum? I have seen the nodding onion as part of the Liliaceae family on the USDA website and my field guides, but it is in the Alliaceae family i...
view the full question and answer

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