En Español

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
1 rating

Thursday - March 12, 2009

From: Driftwood, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Name of algae on ground that swells after a rain
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What is the name of the algae looking stuff on the ground that swells up after rain. I thought it was "nostock" but I can't locate that name anywhere. Thanks!

ANSWER:

The name you are looking for is Nostoc.  They once were called "blue-green algae"; but they aren't algae and even though they can photosynthesize their own food, they aren't plants at all—they are cyanobacteria.  They are ancient organisms, the oldest known fossils.  The chloroplasts in plants (where photosynthesis takes place) originated when eukaryotic cells (those containing nuclei—bacteria don't have nuclei) started enclosing cyanobacteria in their cells.  The eukaryotic cells benefited from the cyanobacteria photosynthesizing food for them and the cyanobacteria benefited from the protection it gained in the eukaryotic cell.
 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification, possibly chile pequin
September 17, 2008 - Found in my back yard a plant about 18 inches tall. it has tiny white 5 petal flowers and small (smaller than a pea) fuits. The fruits smell just like bell pepper. My nose itched after smelling it. ...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification in Houston, TX
October 10, 2013 - This plant to a bout a foot high. It almost looks like a weed and has a 2 in. furry top at the end. Also they were all gathered in a clump randomly around each other. What is this ?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification from Sarasota, FL.
August 23, 2010 - Hi I recently went to Discovery Cove in Orlando Florida and saw a purple flowering tree/shrub that had branches similar to okra shape or starfruit shape, the leaves were very grainy similar to alligat...
view the full question and answer

Identification of spiny plant in Yucca Mesa, CA
March 02, 2011 - I have a very prickly bush on my property near Yucca Mesa, CA, (high desert). 2 to 3 feet high. Branches mostly starting from the center near ground. Lots of 1 to 2 inch spines on branches. Dormant in...
view the full question and answer

Identification of vine in New York
May 15, 2012 - I have a flowering vine that grows against my home and I'm not sure what it is, but it's beautiful with a delicate scent. The flowers look like clusters of mini purple pea pods hanging downward befo...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center