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

Which one is huajillo and which one is guajillo?
November 19, 2013 - Recently I attended a field trip to the Leonard Garden at the Kleberg Institute in Kingsville. I took a picture of a tree that was referred to as Tenaza or huajillo. Later I took another photo of a ...
view the full question and answer

Native plant initiatives for universities in Southeast U.S.
April 26, 2005 - Hello, I am an undergraduate student majoring in botany at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, TN. I am a native plant enthusiast and would like to promote n.p.'s on campus. Do you kn...
view the full question and answer

What shade trees have non-invasive root systems?
March 03, 2015 - What shade trees have a non-invasive root system? I am in zone 7a. Thank you, Mr. Smarty Plants!
view the full question and answer

Increase in plant cell size when nuclei take on water
March 07, 2008 - Do plant cells increase in size when vacuoles or nuclei take on water?
view the full question and answer

Appearance of plants
April 14, 2009 - What is plants appearance?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center