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

Sunday - April 03, 2005

From: Galveston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany
Title: Genetics reason for color variation in Indian paintbrush
Answered by: Joe Marcus and Nan Hampton


Are the color variations in Indian paintbrush (Castilleja indivisa) a matter of genetic mutation or minerals in the soil? I say it's genetic and the rest of the family says it's environmental.


Congratulations! You are right that the color variations of Indian paintbrush (Castilleja indivisa) are due to genetics. "Normal" color variations range from carmine to brick red to salmon. Less common are yellow- and white-flowered individuals. While soil conditions can have a small effect on flower color, the variations you are seeing are genetic in origin.


From the Image Gallery

Entireleaf indian paintbrush
Castilleja indivisa

More General Botany Questions

Leaf motion in still air in ON
June 25, 2012 - What causes a tree or plant to dance when the other plants around it are still and no wind???
view the full question and answer

Information about prickly pear cactus for school project
October 19, 2012 - Hello my name is Case Danzeiser. I go to a middle school called Clint Small Middle School in Austin, Texas. We are doing a species study on a native Texas plants and animals. I choose to study the pri...
view the full question and answer

Is it safe to eat vegetables grown in the same bed as foxgloves?
August 12, 2012 - I have foxglove in my flower beds and have planted tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and cantaloupe in the flower bed and now I am concerned about the shared root system. Also, my tomatoes are touching the...
view the full question and answer

Seed for Kosteletzkya virginica, salt marsh mallow
January 13, 2009 - I have a nursery in North Carolina. We are looking for a reliable seed source for kosteletzkya virginica salt marsh mallow. We are www.campbellfamilynursery.com
view the full question and answer

Is a height of 5 to 8 feet forOenothera biennis (Common evening primrose) normal?
August 30, 2014 - I have identified a version of Evening Primrose Oenothera biennia L. In my yard, Livonia Michigan. These plants range in height from 5-8+ feet. Is this typical? The references I find indicates 3-5 fe...
view the full question and answer

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