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

A Bounty of Edibles for New Braunfels Texas
October 25, 2013 - I was hoping you could suggest a few plants that would serve several purposes. I live in New Braunfels, TX and would like to incorporate as many drought tolerant plants which would support birds, but...
view the full question and answer

Butterfly information on Wildflower.org
March 23, 2015 - Why are butterflies like the "canaries in the coal mine" -- or, what plants best help butterflies? I know the answers, but I don't see the info on your web site. You have a feature under native p...
view the full question and answer

California native plants for a steep slope
May 29, 2010 - We are looking for California native plants for a steep south facing slope that do not attract bees. Can you please provide a list?
view the full question and answer

Shrubs and trees to protect beehives in Godley TX
April 06, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Is there a (relatively) fast growing native small tree or large shrub (NOT cedar) that tolerates Johnson County clay, full sun, sometimes damp and sometimes dry soil with no...
view the full question and answer

Honeybees swarming around galls on oak trees
September 28, 2015 - A large number of honeybees have descended on a live oak tree in my backyard. They appear to be feeding on the numerous galls on the tree as if they were flowers. What's going on?
view the full question and answer

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