En Espa—ol

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

Saturday - June 21, 2008

From: midway park, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Identification of palm plant
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello! I just bought a tiny 10" tall feather leafed palm. I did my research first though, and thought I was buying an areca palm. Now after doing more research, I really have no idea what type of palm I have purchased! All the tag says is 'tropical foliage'. It has about 20 stems,really thin, each with 2-3 (no more than 3 on any of the stems) long fronds with a feathery look to them. I potted it into a 6" pot, thinking it would grow fast and then I could re-pot into a 17 qt pot in late winter or spring when it is a bit more established. There are so many that I have seen online that look the exactly like mine! The closest are the neanthebella or the chamaedorea cataractarum. One only grown 6 feet, the other 12'. One wants lots of light and the other doesn't. I need to know what you think I have so I can properly take care of it! Thanks so much! -Amy

ANSWER:

The two species you name, Chamaedorea elegans (neanthebella or parlor palm) and Chamaedorea cataractarum (cat palm or cataract palm), are not native to North America and, as such, are not in our area of expertise. Our focus is on plants native to the United States (including Hawaii and Alaska) and Canada. Our mission statement reads: "The mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes."

My suggestion is to take your question to the University of British Columbia (UBC) Botanical Garden discussion forums. They have a category called "Plant Identification" under Gardening Miscellany. The quote from their web page says: "The garden provides these forums for people from around the world to discuss plants and gardening with input from UBC researchers, staff and volunteers and other contributing experts." The site allows you to post photographs to aid with the identification and they discuss all sorts of plants—cultivated, exotic, non-native and native.

 

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Smarty Plants on Kokias
January 27, 2005 - I am searching for seeds of different Kokias (Kokia cookei, K. drynariodes and K. kauaiensis) and Thespesias (Thespesia grandiflora, T. thespesioides, T. nerifolia and T. popul...
view the full question and answer

Restoring the woods in Central Austin.
May 08, 2012 - I live in Austin, south central between Red Bud trail close to the low water bridge and Bee Caves road. My question: I want to make the wooded sections of my yard attractive. They have filtered sun...
view the full question and answer

Mediun-sized tree for southern California, possibly Monterey cypress
September 07, 2009 - Hello, I live in Glendora CA 91741, I am looking for a CA native non -deciduous medium size tree to provide shade in the front yard. I was thinking of monterey cypress; any suggestions and place to ...
view the full question and answer

Purchase source for Jamaica Sawgrass
November 09, 2008 - Any idea where to find this plant? Does the center sell them? Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense (Crantz) KŁkenth. Jamaica swamp sawgrass, Jamaican Saw-grass, Saw-grass Cyperaceae (Sedge Family) ...
view the full question and answer

Need to find a place to buy Western Soapberry in Paris, TX.
May 05, 2012 - Where is the closest place to purchase a Western Soapberry tree?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center