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
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

Identification of orange flowering tree in West Virginia
May 21, 2008 - I was wondering if you might have any suggestions as to what small tree-like plant I saw over the last two weeks (mid May) in West Virginia, in the woods, in the mountains. With honeysuckle-like leav...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
November 08, 2012 - I have visited this page and 18 more! I am still trying to find a plant that I found on a creek that runs through our land. I have pics. Great ones! Can I send the pic? If you like it, use it. I ...
view the full question and answer

Mystery plants at Marble Falls
September 01, 2008 - On the upper end of Lake Marble Falls is a 2-3 foot tall green stemed plant just blooming small white daisy like flowers. There are no leaves on the plant just stems and now flowers. Any idea where ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identfication
September 28, 2009 - I live in Kyle Texas and my neighbor has a tree with white blooms and when they fall off the twigs have a wavy look at the end with no leaves. we spoke to a nursery and they thought maybe an eve's ne...
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree or shrub in Massachusetts
May 16, 2013 - Good morning, We are in Zone 5 and have a tree/shrub I cannot identify in the backyard of our new home. Tall (6')and growing, green stems,and when the stems are broken the branches smell of lemon o...
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