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
2 ratings

Monday - August 06, 2007

From: Homestead, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Pollinators
Title: Pollinator for Hymenocallis palmeri
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Okay, Ms. Smarty Plants, let's see if I can stump you. I feel blessed to have seen an alligator lily (Hymenocallis palmeri) in the Everglades, while doing photopoints with my boss. Please tell me what pollinates these lovely flowers, and how they pollinate them. Thank you.

ANSWER:

Hymenocallis palmeri (syn = H. humilis) is pollinated by hawkmoths. To accomplish the feat, hawkmoths fly up to the flower during the evening hours, hover much like a hummingbird (they're also known as hummingbird moths), and uncurl and insert an exceedingly long proboscis deep into the flower. In the process of sipping nectar, flower pollen is transferred to the moth which it will then deposit while visiting another alligator lily flower. For an excellent discussion of the process please see this article in the quarterly newsletter of the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden.
 

More Pollinators Questions

Making a pollinator garden
August 11, 2014 - Hello, I have a ditch right by my house and I want to turn it into a pollinator garden using native plants. My problem is, right now it's so full of weeds that we have to mow those down so soon. For ...
view the full question and answer

Pollination of Fendlera rupicola
July 17, 2014 - How/by what is Fendlera rupicola pollinated?
view the full question and answer

Soil Loosener/Pollinator Plants for Houston
August 11, 2014 - I am trying to establish a mostly-native pollinator way-station in a recently purchased lot in a 100 year old neighborhood in Houston. Much of the property has a thick layer of oyster shell four to si...
view the full question and answer

Pollinator to Arkansas yucca from Arlington TX
May 15, 2012 - Thank you Barbara for your answer. However, my Arkansas yuccas bloom every year, but do not set seed. I am asking for the name of the moth that pollinates them, or other native plants that serve as ...
view the full question and answer

Bees and Bulbs
April 20, 2015 - Are any of the Non-Native bulbs beneficial to bees of any kind? My Dutch hyacinths, and daffodils are so prolific; they are both single, but I can't find any information about them as sources of nect...
view the full question and answer

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