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?


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
1 rating

Monday - March 21, 2005

From: San Diego, CA
Region: California
Topic: General Botany
Title: Smarty Plants on aceae
Answered by: Damon Waitt


How is the family suffix "-aceae", as in Asteraceae, pronounced? I find disagreeing claims in my searches- "ay-see-ee" and "ay-see-ay" seem to be the most common, but I've also seen just "ay-see". Is there any agreement on this among botanists?


Not really, though I rarely encounter the "ay-see" pronunciation. Here are afew tips to keep in mind regarding pronunciation:
1. classical scholars don't always agree on pronunciation
2. professional botanists vary substantially in their pronunciation
3. individual botanists rarely are completely consistent in pronunciation
4. people tend to pronounce names the way they first learned them regardless of any subsequently-encountered rules.

Click here for some great guides to botanical pronunciation from Google.

More General Botany Questions

Smarty Plants on Wildflowerology
July 08, 2005 - I know there is a word for everything, but I can't find the offical word for the study of wildflowers. Wildflowerology just doesn't sound right. Can you help?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on air purification
September 14, 2005 - What plant purifies the air?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on spines
April 09, 2005 - What do you call part of a plant that is needle-like or has spikes or bristles?
view the full question and answer

Do plants grow faster in natural or artificial light?
March 13, 2009 - Do you think plants will grow faster in natural light or artificial light or a combination of both? And why do you think that. and need your answer for my biology project please and thank you for your...
view the full question and answer

Native subarctic plants
March 26, 2008 - I'm doing a project on subarctic things and I have to have subarctic plants in it. I need to know a few and about them. Can you help?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center