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

Understory plants for Tuolumne Co., CA
May 14, 2007 - My driveway is lined with purple plum trees. I would like to grow something underneath them. What can I grow that will not harm the root system/health of the trees?
view the full question and answer

Chemical Weed Control in Lady Ferns in North Carolina
August 12, 2014 - Lady Fern (Athyrium filix femina): What herbicide may I use for weeds in a new bed of Lady fern.
view the full question and answer

Native Texas Plants for a Terrarium
October 08, 2014 - I have a 55-gallon aquarium that I would like to make into a terrarium. Are there any Texas native plants that would do well in the limited artificial light of the tank? The plants should be of varyin...
view the full question and answer

Identification of small purplish/pink flower with ferny leaves
March 13, 2011 - There is a totally adorable tiny flower blooming right now in my lease pasture near the Cedar Park Center in Cedar Park, TX. It has a rosette of 2"-3" ferny leaves circling a very tiny (1/4") purp...
view the full question and answer

Southern Woodferns in TX
May 06, 2010 - I have recently bought some 3 gallon southern woodferns, and have planted them in the shade in a low spot with clay soil. It seems to be a good location for the ferns, but a week or two after transpla...
view the full question and answer

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