En EspaÑol

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

Sunday - April 22, 2007

From: Kalamazoo, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Propagation, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Iris brevicaulis in Southwest Michigan
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

We live in Kalamazoo, MI (Southwest Michigan Zone 6) and discovered last year that we have an iris brevicaulis (we think) growing (and very pretty) on our property. It has the "zig zag" stem. It seemed to come out of nowhere (we have lived here 5 years and have never seen it) and is on a sandy/loamy hillside that used to be an apple orchard. Based on our research it is not supposed to be this far North. Is this rare for our area and conditions? There is no water anywhere near the area. How do Iris propagate other than rhizomes? Are there seeds a bird might spread? We've wondered how it got here to begin with. There is just one plant. I can send you a picture if you would like to verify the species.

ANSWER:

Your iris is possibly Zig-zag iris, Iris brevicaulis. However, Zig-zag iris is not the only iris with zig-zag stems. If your plant is Zig-zag iris, then it is an unusual denizen of your area. Birds would not be a likely candidate for dispersing iris seeds, although other herbivores such as deer or cattle might be responsible. Seed can also be dispersed by farm equipment, truck tires and footwear. Exactly how your plant came to be where it is growing may remain a mystery. While Zig-zag iris prefers moist soil, it will also grow in more upland settings.

If you would like to submit digital images for identification, please email them to id@smartyplants.org. Write "Plant Identification Request" on the subject line.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

What is the plant called wingspan?
September 21, 2014 - I have a lot of environmental allergies and saw a positive result for "wingspan" yet I cannot find ANY information online about that particular plant. I was told it's "tumbleweed" by the medical ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of 3-leaf plant with red berries in Utah
July 27, 2011 - I would like to send you a picture to ID a 3 leaf plant with red berries. Could you give me an email to do that? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
July 03, 2009 - I have a tree growing in my backyard that has started to produce bean shaped blue berries the interior of the berry is red and the leaf shape is long and triangle and the stems the berries grow on are...
view the full question and answer

Wild native trees with orange blooms
March 30, 2012 - What is the wild native tree that is blooming orange blooms - as you drive down the road thru Chappel Hill, and Brenham area. I've never seen these before when we went viewing bluebonnets - however,...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 10, 2008 - Mr. Smarty Plants, My neighbor gave me a plant that is about 3 foot tall, has a main stalk, and leaves that produce small “baby” plants at the edge of the leaves. These plants grow roots and once dev...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center