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
4 ratings

Monday - October 08, 2007

From: Irwin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Information about plant called Josephs tears, possibly Jobs tears (Coix lacryma-jobi)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I recently received a plant and was told it was a succulent called Joseph's Tears. According to the individual who gave it to me, during the month of September it develops a little growth at the tips of the leaves, a seed I guess, that when allowed to drop off into the dirt will grow a new plant. Like tears dropping off, hence the common name. I cannot locate any info about this plant. Can you help? It can be found growing in Texas.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants couldn't find a plant called Joseph's Tears, but has found a plant known as Job's Tears (Coix lacryma-jobi). It isn't a succulent, however, but a grass species introduced to the US from East Asia and Malaya. Its seeds, the tears, are hard and spherical and are sometimes used as rosary beads. The seeds of one variety is eaten. Here is some more information about Job's Tears from Purdue University and from Plants for a Future.

The only succulent I could find that had seeds resembling tears and "tears" as part of its common name is called String of Tears or String of Beads (Senecio herreianus). Its "tear" seeds, however, occur in a cluster, not at the end of the leaves.

If neither of these plants is your plant, you can send us a photo and we will be happy to try to identify it. For instructions on how to submit photographs, please visit the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page and read about "Plant Identifcation" in the lower right corner.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of tree with strawberry-like fruit in North Carolina
September 24, 2011 - While visiting Boone, North Carolina we walked the Greenway in town. There were a few trees with a round red fruit similar to a strawberry. They were about the size of a penny and a dull red color dot...
view the full question and answer

Sending a picture of an oak from Yorktown TX
December 02, 2011 - How I can I send a pic of my oak in Yorktown near Cuero?
view the full question and answer

Identification of willow-like tree
April 22, 2012 - Hi. My daughter is trying to identify a native tree that is like a "scrub" tree here in pastures in Austin, Texas (for a school project). It sort of looks like weeping willow, but most aren't very ...
view the full question and answer

Identity of purple flower with flowers similar to witch hazel
August 16, 2012 - Found along woods roads. Purple flower about 1 - 2 ft. in height. Central stem rises from a ground level leaf whorl of five leaves from 4 to 7 inches long and 2 to 3 inches at their widest point. C...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
September 12, 2009 - I am looking for the name of plant my Grandma used to own. She always referred to it as a spider plant. The green part of the plant looked very similar to a spider plant but growing around the base of...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center