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

Monday - June 29, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: User Comments
Title: Question about Salvia coccinea photos in the Native Plant Database
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

A search for Salvia coccinea in the database resulted in some of the pictures showing frostweed crystals ('am assuming that is an error), as well as some white and bicolor pastel pink & white blooms. Can S. coccinea have that much variation in color?

ANSWER:

All of the photos you mention from our Native Plant Database are indeed Salvia coccinea (blood sage).  One of our experts, Joe Marcus, took the photos showing the ice crystals that do look like the ice crystals that form from the sap of Verbesina virginica (frostweed).  Here is what he says about them:

"I remember taking the picture and being very surprised at what I was seeing - and photographing.  I think it did the frostweed-y thing because the tops of the plants had recently been sheared and the stems were still alive and full of water.  In other words, the conditions under which the Salvia would produce the ice ribbons were very specific and very unusual.  I wanted to capture the evidence that it could happen - in rare circumstances - and that is what I did."
 
Also, although the majority of plants of the species have red blossoms, there are different color varieties of S. coccinea. The pink and white flowered one is a cultivar, but we're not sure which one.  The most common cultivar with flowers this color is one called 'Coral Nymph' (sometimes marketed as 'Cherry Blossom'), but there may also be other pink and white cultivars. 


Salvia coccinea

Salvia coccinea

Verbesina virginica

Verbesina virginica

Verbesina virginica

Salvia coccinea

Salvia coccinea

Salvia coccinea
 

More User Comments Questions

Why is Mr. Smarty Plants website so useless?
July 16, 2008 - Why is your site so useless?
view the full question and answer

Use of pictures from our Image Gallery
August 28, 2008 - I would like to use the picture of prickly wild rose on a website I am designing for information on native plants. I am designing this site for children and teachers. Who do I contact?
view the full question and answer

Fast growing groundcover for New York
September 02, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I love your site! But I can't quite find this answer: can you recommend a fast-growing groundcover native to southern NY State (Dutchess County) that I can plant NOW (Augus...
view the full question and answer

Pot on a pillar in a pond in Pflugerville
April 26, 2010 - No question: Just a thanks to Barbara. You can't imagine how hard I laughed when I read the interpretation that I was going to plant Maximilians in a pot on a pedestal in the middle of a pond!!! S...
view the full question and answer

Strawberry tree with yellowing leaves.
June 07, 2009 - Just to add to your statistics, I live in Poulsbo, Washington, very near to Tacoma, Washington. My strawberry tree also has yellowing leaves with some black spots. I will take your advice with the iro...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center