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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - September 27, 2008

From: Milford, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Ferns
Title: Ferns that smell like cucumber
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Are there ferns that smell like cucumber?

ANSWER:

We could locate no ferns that smell like cucumber, but we bet we know what you are talking about. Sanguisorba minor, Salad Burnet, (Floridata) is an herb native to Europe, Africa and Asia, but brought to North America by the Pilgrims. Obviously not a native to North America, and therefore out of our usual expertise, but if you will look at this page of pictures of Salad Burnet and then at the pictures of native Adiantum capillus-veneris (common maidenhair) below, we think you'll see how they could be confused. Maidenhair fern is a native of Texas and several other states, not including Pennsylvania. We're guessing if you have seen this herb in gardens in your area, you mistook it for a fern. It does have a lovely cucumber fragrance and is often used in salads to add a cucumber "presence" without having to slice a cucumber.

 

From the Image Gallery


Southern maidenhair fern
Adiantum capillus-veneris

Southern maidenhair fern
Adiantum capillus-veneris

Southern maidenhair fern
Adiantum capillus-veneris

More Ferns Questions

Container plants for Arlington TX
February 10, 2012 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I just moved to Arlington, TX. I am trying to create a container garden on my apartment balcony. What flowers, herbs, vegetables, and fruit combinations can I put together that wil...
view the full question and answer

Container plants for part shade in Bee Cave TX
June 18, 2013 - Dear Mr Smarty Pants, I am looking for plants that will thrive on my covered porch in 3 tall planters. These are meant to help me block an unattractive view out my living room window, so they must...
view the full question and answer

Recovering neglected garden space from Grapevine TX
March 22, 2014 - I live in Grapevine TX (Dallas). I just moved into a house where almost the entire large backyard is covered by oak trees that shed tons of leaves throughout our mild falls/winters. The yard has not...
view the full question and answer

Crows foot plant for Christmas wreaths from Millsboro DE
November 04, 2012 - I am looking for a plant called crows foot to make wreaths for Christmas. Where do I find this plant.
view the full question and answer

Erosion control for a North Carolina creek side
February 29, 2012 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants! I noticed a question on your website recommending NC native grasses and plants to help prevent erosion on a sloping backyard, including the use of an erosion blanket. The pl...
view the full question and answer

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