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

Thursday - February 20, 2003

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Smarty Plants on epiphytes
Answered by: Stephen Brueggerhoff

QUESTION:

Can you identify the "air plants" that are hanging in the trees? They are grayish-green, and hang down like a necklace.

ANSWER:

The plant that you are probably referring to is called Ball Moss (Tillandsia recurvata (small ballmoss)and is an epiphyte, or a plant that grows on other plants but does not take nutrients from them. The leaves and stems of ball moss absorb water & nutrients from the air, earning these plants and their related plants (bromeliads) the nickname of "air plant". The native range of this plant includes southern Texas, but has been distributed throughout the state by humans (ie. riding on transplanted trees, etc.). Local spread occurs by windblown seed.

 

From the Image Gallery


Small ball moss
Tillandsia recurvata

More Plant Identification Questions

Instructions on posting photos of plant for ID
February 29, 2008 - I need help identifying an adopted tree. How do I post the picture so I can show you? It's a odd one I've never seen.
view the full question and answer

Identification of fragrant, white-flowered bush in Arizona
April 14, 2013 - I'd like to identify a flowering bush which has white sweet-smelling flowers. It is growing in the Coconino National Forest in the area near the Airport vortex/Airport mesa in Sedona, Arizona. ...
view the full question and answer

Botanical name for \
August 05, 2007 - A friend gave me a garden flower plant called "clown face". What is the botanical name and where can I get info about it?
view the full question and answer

Vine with 5 pointed deep lobed leaves and small white flowers
June 21, 2015 - I recently happened upon a very peculiar vine. It has 5 pointed very deep lobed leaves, that are semi hairy on both the top and bottom with small white flowers that emerge from the same part of the st...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plants from India
April 20, 2011 - Where can I find identification of a plant that is from India. It climbs up trees and has beautiful small orchid type flowers.
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