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

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

Tuesday - May 15, 2007

From: austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Semelparous: plant that dies after reproduces. Agave and bamboo.
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

There is a term for a plant who lives its life (usually more than 2 years) sends up a spectacular flowering structure, and then dies. what is that term? a certain plant that falls into that category is Agave americana. please let me know Mr. Smarty Plants!

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants believes the term you are lookig for is semelparous. It is used to describe an organism that reproduces just once during its lifetime, after which death is inevitable. Examples include annual and biennial plants but also some longer lived plants like Agaves and Bamboo. This reproductive strategy is sometimes referred to as "Big Bang" reproduction, one Big output of offspring then you go out with a Bang. The opposite, of course, is iteroparous where an organism has multiple reproductive events during their lifetime.
 

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Smarty Plants on bio-security
June 11, 2005 - Hello, My friend and I are summer interns at the Bryan Mound Strategic Petroleum Reserve Site in Freeport, Texas. Our jobs as the interns is to find a plant that is friendly to the animals around our...
view the full question and answer

Does cutting off the budding agave bloom save the plant from Sunrise FL
April 30, 2010 - I have an Agave(century plant) just starting its long flower stalk. I have read the mother plant will die after flowering. Can I cut off the stalk before it flowers to save the plant? If not, how do i...
view the full question and answer

Dying cactus plants
December 16, 2007 - Two large cactus plants on the grounds of our condominium complex have begun to turn yellow and appear to be dying. A "staple" of our landscaping, this is the first year that they have developed th...
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming yuccas in Brooklyn CT
July 14, 2013 - I have outdoor yucca plants that don't flower - - in full sun. Why?
view the full question and answer

Cochineal bugs on cactus
November 18, 2008 - Mr. Smarty plants. I have purple prickly pear cactus that are developing small white flake like spots, mostly where the thorns would be. Why is this happening and how can I cure it?
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