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

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 Herbs/Forbs Questions

Nativity of Bidens frondosa from Portland OR
September 16, 2012 - Is Bidens frondosa (Beggar's Tick) native to North America or is it introduced? If introduced, is it considered invasive?
view the full question and answer

Texas natives for a small garden with red flowers
October 03, 2009 - I have a garden that is 4' deep, what can I put there that is a Texas native, I would really like some color (preferably red)also it needs to be able to grow tall (8 - 10')
view the full question and answer

Poppies on Pflugerville, TX lake
April 26, 2008 - I live on the new Pflugerville Lake. We are trying to get wildflower seed to plant around the lake in the mitigation areas. Will Poppies grow here?
view the full question and answer

Maintenance of milkweed from Austin
September 12, 2013 - I help plant and maintain a Monarch Waystation Garden in San Leanna, Texas (South Austin). Should milkweed plants be cut back during the winter? Last year we cut them back a bit late and some died c...
view the full question and answer

Plants for soil with basalt outcroppings in Idaho
March 30, 2008 - We have basalt (lava) outcropping in part of our back yard and know we'll have to search for pockets of soil in which to plant. Any suggestions about what trees or shrubs would have a chance in thes...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center