Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
2 ratings

Thursday - October 29, 2009

From: Pensacola, FL
Region: Select Region
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: ID of plant that looks like a pine cone?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have a plant that i was told it was a Pine Cone plant. When it blooms it looks just like a pine cone. but i can't fine anything on it.

ANSWER:

With few exceptions, Mr. Smarty Plants has to ask his patrons to submit plant ID requests along with digital images to Plant Identification at Ask Mr. Smarty Plants.  It is a very rare occasion that he can identify a plant based on a written description alone.  Happily, this may be one of those rare ocassions!

Very few plants look "just like a pine cone."  In fact, we can think of only one in Florida that really fits that description well, Conopholis americana (American cancer-root).  Also known as Squawroot or Bear Corn, this native species can be found in woodlands throughout eastern North America.  Like many other members of its family, Orobanchaceae, Conopholis americana has no chlorophyll.  Thus, it has no green color and has no capacity to make its own food.  It thrives by parasitizing the roots of oak trees.

Here are links with more information from Wikipedia, The University of British Columbia Botanical Garden, Vanderbilt Bioimages, and the Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Indentification of yellow four-petaled plant in Sonoma County CA
March 09, 2015 - Yellow four-petaled plant - low to the ground. Along the coast of CA in Sonoma County (near Bodega Bay) Might be Frying Pan but I can't find a decent description or the botanical name to look it up...
view the full question and answer

Fringe tree appropriate for Libertyville IL
July 05, 2009 - I live in Libertyville Illinois and admired a fringe tree on the Biltmore Estate. Are the weather & soil conditions conducive to having a fringe tree in this area?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification, possibly Datura
September 07, 2007 - I have a wide green-leafed plant that has white flowers. This plant also has some thorny fruits in the shape of mines that float on the ocean. At the moment it is 2 feet high. I'm beginning to wo...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant growing in Plumbago
August 01, 2007 - Help - I have a strange looking plant that recently shot up in a potted Plumbago. I planted the Plumbago in its pot with Miracle Gro potting soil, and have been fertilizing with Miracle Gro as well. ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
October 10, 2009 - Please try to identify a shrub growing beside a country road in Van Zandt Co this month. It had tiny, slender cone shaped fruit or "flowers" along the branches. The leaves are dark green, about 1 i...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.