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

Pollinator plants for Ilex verticillata (winterberry)
June 09, 2008 - How close do a male and female common winterberry need to be to produce berries. We bought a male and female last year and attracted cedar wax wings. Amazing show. We just bought two more females a...
view the full question and answer

Hummingbird Bushes for Broken Arrow OK
August 27, 2014 - I am looking for bushes that attract hummingbirds. I live in Broken Arrow, OK. Can you recommend some?
view the full question and answer

Duplicate of English holly for Eufaula OK
January 03, 2010 - I wish to have a shrub that would duplicate the red berries and foliage of English holly. Tolerance of cultivation is also desired.
view the full question and answer

Pollinating Pawpaws
February 06, 2013 - We have many good sized pawpaw trees in our area but they never bear any fruit. I've checked them at different times in the fall over the years but no fruit. Someone told me that the flowers were po...
view the full question and answer

Flying insects attacking yucca flacida in Wilmington NC
June 11, 2010 - How do I treat flying insects from eating the flowers on my Yucca Flaccida shrub.
view the full question and answer

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