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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - August 11, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Just after the last little rain we got, I noticed a small, inconspicuous plant in my front yard that was sprouting a structure that looks for all the world like a pitcher plant. It is not, however, anything like the texas native, pale pitcher plant, Sarracenia alata. I'm familiar with Napenthes pitcher plants, having spent some time in Southeast Asia. It was more like that, in that the pitcher grew out of a more regular looking plant, but still different from anything I've seen. This inflorescence(?) was probably about 3" long total, with a small bulbous vessel at the bottom, a long, tall, slender neck, and at the mouth of the pitcher, the back transitioned into an almost vertical hood that fanned out like a cobra to a spathe shaped "cap" which was almost black with strikingly contrasting white/cream patches, then imediately narrowed down and ended in a long slender grass-blade like structure. I have pictures, email me if you want to see them. The pitcher thingie was much bigger than the plant it grew off of. What the heck is it?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants loves these plant identification questions and this one is particulary intriguing! You haven't stumped our expert, Joe Marcus, however. He thinks that this is Aristolochia erecta (swanflower). Here is another set of photographs. If we haven't 'nailed' it, please send us your photos and we will give it another try. Please visit the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page to read instructions (under "Plant Identification" for submitting photos.

 


Aristolochia erecta

Aristolochia erecta

Aristolochia erecta

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Orange and fuschia flowers on bushes in Maine
July 01, 2008 - I recently visited Portland,ME from end of May to the second week in June. many of the homes had these beautiful flowering bushes next to the houses. The flowers grew in clusters similar to hydrangeas...
view the full question and answer

Fragrant night blooming plant
June 09, 2009 - My Grandmother use to have a night fragrant night blooming plant that she referred to as "baby Jesus being born" when it bloomed. Are you familiar with anything of this nature?
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant with large furry leaves
June 07, 2008 - I have 4 huge plants in my flower garden that I cannot identify. They look like an unfolding cabbage with large furry leaves. They also have tiny stickers on them. This a.m. I went out to check on ...
view the full question and answer

Native flowers versus non-natives
June 30, 2014 - Native flowers versus non-natives. What guidelines do use for identification. I come across flowers in different habitats and can't identify them as natives. Also, how do you attach a image to a ...
view the full question and answer

Identity of tall plant with blooms similar to squash in Ohio
September 05, 2012 - Trying to identify a mystery plant. Have found nothing similar on the internet. Can I send a picture and if so, how? The plant is over 5 feet tall with many branches and has blooms similar to squas...
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