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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - June 03, 2005

From: Long Beach, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Smarty Plants on Resurrection Plant
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, I have a plant that my grandmother gave to me. When she gave me the plant it was a dried bundle; but, as soon as she put in water, the plant opened up and came to life again. Then, we let it dry and bundle up again. That was about 8 years ago, and now I put the plant back in water to let it open up. I was wondering if you can help me identify the plant. It has copper-color roots that are very thin and there are no real look-like leaves. It almost looks like coral. It has stems that are light brown when dried, but a dark green when wet and alive again. It is very delicate overall, especially when dried. The stems are thin as well and somewhat dark when wet. It looks like if the stems were the leaves as well. I wonder what it is?

ANSWER:

This sounds like Resurrection Plant (Selaginella lepidophylla). It belongs to a primitive group of plants in the Family Selaginellaceae (Spike-mosses). You can read an excellent description on the Union County College in New Jersey web site where it was featured as "Plant of the Week". It is native to New Mexico and Texas. Its ability to dry up when no moisture is available and revive and grow in the presence of moisture helps it survive in the desert Southwest.
 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
August 13, 2008 - Can you identify a shrub in my backyard? It has odd looking seed pods with three chambers and hard black seeds inside roughly 1/8" in diameter. The pods themselves are brown, hard shell, and hang d...
view the full question and answer

Want to identify thorny vines growing in Charlotte Hall, MD
April 25, 2013 - I have vines with thorns growing in my wood, vining around the trees and killing them. It grows and vines go up trees of any height all the way to the top. It has green pointy leaves. If it doesn't...
view the full question and answer

Question about the Chitalpa tree
June 28, 2012 - A bush w/6" long pencil thin seed pod, leaves 4"x1/2", flower that looks like the flower on the Chitalpa tree. Is there a Chitalpa bush. The one I have I grew from seed from the pod; flat, round ...
view the full question and answer

Care for Vauquelinia angustifolia (Chisos Rosewood)
June 08, 2008 - Hello, I have another question for you. A friend has given me a plant called "Chisos Rosewood" which they bought on a whim but decided they couldn't use. It's said to be evergreen. It's about...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
May 03, 2010 - I need to identify a weed-like plant ~1 ft high with thick stems, wide leaves ending in a single point and bluish-purple tear shaped petals arranged three in a triangle.
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