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
17 ratings

Sunday - November 06, 2005

From: Lizella, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Where and when bloom; will they bloom in artificial light
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Do wildflowers grow through out the world, even in desert and Arctic regions? When do they bloom? Will they bloom in artificial light? What is the most interesting fact about wildflowers?

ANSWER:

Yes, flowering plants grow throughout the world. Even Antarctica, perhaps the harshest climate in the world, has two flowering plants. Pearlwort (Colobanthus quitensis) and Antarctic hairgrass (Deschampsia antarctica). In the polar regions (Arctic and Antarctic) the growing season is very short, less than three months, and limited to when the soil warms enough to thaw. The predominant plants are grasses and sedges and most plants remain very short, usually less than one foot or 20 cm. One of the Antarctic plants, Deschampsia antarctica, has adapted to its harsh environment by producing antifreeze proteins. Deserts also have flowering plants. Many of the desert plants have special adaptations to survive long periods without water. One of the major adaptations is to have a small surface area to reduce water loss. Desert plants tend to have small leaves that are thick and waxy, or no leaves at all. Succulent desert plants, such as the cacti, are able to store water in their thick stems.

Many plants in the tropical regions can bloom all year long. The blooming of plants in the polar regions is limited to the short period of late spring and summer. Many desert plants bloom in response to rainfall. For flowering plants in the temperate zones, many plants begin flowering in late winter or early spring and continue flowering into late fall; whereas others bloom only in the spring, some bloom only in the summer, and still others only in the fall. One of the major contributors in determining when a plant flowers is day length, or, more accurately, the length of the period of darkness it experiences. Some plants, for example, the poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), require a long night to bloom in the late fall/early winter. Wheat (Triticum aestivum), on the other hand, blooms in summer in response to a short night. Then, there are day-neutral plants such as cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) and corn (Zea mays) that bloom in response to cues other than day length. Plants will grow and flower under artificial lights but the particular wave length of light and its intensity are important.

I think the most interesting fact about wildflowers is that they come in so many sizes, forms, and colors and grow in so many varied places. Even in an environment that you think you know well, you can be surprised by a new flowering plant that you have never seen before.
 

More Wildflowers Questions

Overwintering Yucca Seedlings in Illinois
October 02, 2013 - I have many yucca seedlings I started this year. My question is what do I need to do with them to overwinter here in Northern Illinois and when do I plant them in the ground for best chances of survi...
view the full question and answer

Texas natives that attract butterflies but not deer
December 13, 2012 - I'd like to have some plants in my garden that are butterfly attractors, but that whitetail deer won't like. I can find lists of butterfly plants, and lists of deer-resistant plants -- is there a li...
view the full question and answer

Advisability of sowing wildflower seeds in mid-January in Lousiana
January 07, 2006 - Newton County borders Louisiana in SE Texas. Can we plant wildflowers now-mid January? The park has recently been graded and many trees blown down by Rita which will make it more sunny. The Garden ...
view the full question and answer

Book on the wildflowers of South America
May 25, 2007 - i am looking for a book on wildflowers of south america...any idea where i can find one?
view the full question and answer

Landscaping recommendations for site in Dubuque, IA
March 27, 2010 - I need a seed recommendation. Here are the variables: Location: Dubuque, IA (east Central Iowa) Soil type: Sandy to sandy and gravelly. Part is a riverbank facing east. Steep bank then flat to ...
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