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?

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
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

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

Identification of tree with orange flowers in Mississippi
June 01, 2013 - Saw beautiful Orange colored flowers on a tree in Jackson MI. Can't find one that is hardy in our zone. It looked to be about the size and shape of an apple tree. What could it be?
view the full question and answer

Plant identfication
August 15, 2009 - I have this strange bright orangey-red plant growing in my yard that I have never seen before. It's about 3 inches tall that comes to a point on top and is hollow inside and very soft? What could i...
view the full question and answer

Identification of Monotropa uniflora
August 09, 2007 - I found a peculiar flower in Nopoming Provincial Forest, Manitoba last weekend (August 4th). I found it growing in moss on top of rock (the Canadian shield). It was in shade. About 3 or 4 were clum...
view the full question and answer

Identification of thorny tree with lemon-like fruit
October 14, 2010 - What would be a small lemon like fruit that grows on a bush with large thorns? The fruit is about the size of a golf ball, kind of fuzzy yellow skin like a lemon and smells like a cross between an or...
view the full question and answer

Need to identify orange tube-like plants in Middleboro, MA
October 23, 2009 - Mr. Smarty Plants~ I live near some industrial companies, and lately I have been finding these orange plants, like tubes almost the top being brownish all over my backyard in the mulch. They have a...
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center