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
2 ratings

Tuesday - June 09, 2009

From: Bucyrus, OH
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Fragrant night blooming plant
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

My Grandmother use to have a night fragrant night blooming plant that she referred to as "baby Jesus being born" when it bloomed. Are you familiar with anything of this nature?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants didn't find a plant with the exact name your grandmother used but here is one possibility—Epiphyllum oxypetalum (Night blooming cereus, Dutchman's pipe cactus, Queen of the Night). A couple of people commenting on this plant referred to it as "Babe in the Manger."  I found other references to that name associated with Epiphyllum oxypetalum on several plant forums as well.  You can search on the linked page given above for "Babe in the Manger" or scroll down to the entries by NEVADASKIDS or lindas43.  The first entry says her mother called it that because the bloom looks like "Baby Jesus in the Manger with the star at his feet."  Epiphylllum oxypetalum is a member of the Family Cactaceae (Cactus Family) and is a native of Mexico and Central America.  It does bloom at night and is fragrant.   Here are more photos.  Mr. Smarty Plants thinks you need to have a pretty good imagination to see the baby Jesus in the center of the flower.

 

 

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant ID from Chicago
August 18, 2010 - This plant is VERY common along highways across the entire midwest, and often other parts of the country. It has a long stem with a cluster of white flowers usually only on the top of the stem. The le...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification, possibly Phytolacca americana (American pokeweed)
September 07, 2010 - What wild growing plant has dark purple berries with a pinkish stem? The purple berries grow on their own stem and not in among the leaves, the leaves are green.
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant purchased as desert willow
February 29, 2008 - Purchased a plant at Chappel Hill, Texas and was told it was a desert willow. The bloom cluster and pink color are very similar, but leaves resemble the wisteria. Very pretty. What is it? Can it be r...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on milkweed
August 20, 2005 - I am looking for a photo of the local milkweed in the state of North Carolina. The name would be a help also. I am raising butterflies and I am in dire need of plants.
view the full question and answer

Identification of a plant that appears to be a pink Merremia.
November 14, 2011 - I recently discovered a plant growing locally that was not blooming, but based on the leaves and seed pods I thought it might be Merremia quinquefolia. This week I was able to catch it blooming and th...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center