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

Thursday - December 10, 2009

From: Summerdale, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Plant Identification
Title: Bulb identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

My pinecone ginger (Zingiber zerumbet), my white ginger (Hedychium coronarium) and my cana lilly roots were all accidently put in the same box and now I can't tell which is which. Is there some sort of "guide to roots"?

ANSWER:

The expertise and focus of the Wildflower Center are with plants native to North America.  Of the three plants you name, Zingiber zerumbet (pinecone ginger) is native to southeast Asia and Hedychium coronarium (white ginger) is native to India.  There are two cannas that are native to North America, Canna flaccida (bandanna of the Everglades) and Canna glauca (maraca amarilla); but I would guess you probably have Canna indica (Indian shot), native to tropical Central and South America or Canna x generalis (canna lily), a hybrid of C. indica and C. flaccida.   Generally, we aren't able to help much with non-native plant questions, but perhaps we can offer some sources that can help you.  You might try the International Bulb Society's Bulb Identification Clinic.  You can take photos of your different bulbs and submit your photos and ask the experts there to identify which is which—or you can see photos of the bulbs of the pinecone ginger and white ginger at Buried Treasures.  Click on "more details" by the plant's photo to find the photo of the bulb. If you figure out those two, then by process of elimination the other bulbs should be your canna bulbs.  You can also Google "canna bulbs" and select "Images" and you will find that several photos appear.

 

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Mystery tree in Ontario
July 06, 2011 - I found a tree (similar to an apple tree in blossom) in a shaded area by a stream on our property. I have never seen anything like it. It is again, like an apple branch with the blossoms, however, t...
view the full question and answer

Identifcation of fragrant, white camellia-like flower
August 04, 2008 - My friend describes a beautiful, unusual smelling flower. It was a white camellia-like bloom, but was not a camellia. It was flowering in June or July in the Alabama and Mississippi region. It had ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification request from Wales, United Kingdom
November 17, 2011 - I have a plant that has green and pink leaves and the flowers are dry but are like fingers on a hand. The leaves drop down when it needs watering, which is every other day, and the finger shaped clust...
view the full question and answer

ID for Caribbean mystery plants.
January 13, 2016 - I AM TRYING TO FIND THE COMMON NAME FOR TWO FLOWERS I TOOK PICTURES OF ON A CARIBBEAN CRUISE. I TOOK ONE IN HONDURAS AND ONE IN GRAND CAYMAN. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHERE I CAN GO TO TO GET HELP IN ID...
view the full question and answer

Identification of orange hydrangea-like flower
April 19, 2008 - I am trying to identify a tree...It is a tree like bush if that makes any sense...It has tree limbs and it is bushy like a bush...I thought it might be a hydrangea bush that grows straight up instead ...
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