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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - September 30, 2008

From: Riverview, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I was just in Alabama this weekend and all alongside the road-side were these georgeous pink flowers. I finally stopped to pick one and thet are even prettier up close! The stem is smooth and leafless and about a 1/4 inch in diameter, perfectly cylinrical. The flower is actually a cluster of about 6 bright pink trumpet shaped blooms all coming from the center. Large darker pink stamens (or pistols - not sure) are curling upward from each blossom almost like a honeysuckle has. The entire flower measures about 4 inches in diameter and it's the prettiest pink with some bordering on salmon. Any ideas?

ANSWER:

This sounds to me like Lycoris radiata (hurricane lily or red spider lily), a native of China and Japan that has become naturalized in the southeastern states.  They are beautiful and often startling because their blooms suddenly appear where you've never seen them before.  Here are some more photos.  They are also known as naked ladies.  Those are the stamens that protrude from the flowers.

 

 

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