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
3 ratings

Sunday - May 16, 2010

From: Spokane, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: General Botany
Title: Albinism in plants.
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

Greetings, I was wondering what you know of albinism in plants? I know I've found a few articles about it online. I discovered my only albino plant last summer. It was an albino dogbane plant growing amongst other relatively normal ones. It was noticeably smaller and a bit shriveled looking, yet had the morphology of dogbane. Thanks for your time.

ANSWER:

Yes, we know a little about it. Albinism in plants, as in animals, is a genetic condition that stops the production of pigment. In the case of plants, the pigment is chlorophyll an essential ingredient in the process of photosynthesis. The genetic condition can occur in seed in which case the non-photosynthetic seedlings quickly deplete their starch reserves and die. The genetic condition can also arise in the body of a mature plant from a mutation in a cell that gives rise to other cells. In this case the albino plant may survive (albeit weakly) as long as it can derive nourishment from the non-albino part of the plant. 

 

More General Botany Questions

Comments on article in Austin paper
January 22, 2012 - Why can't we comment on your piece in the Statesman? It says no comments possible at the bottom.
view the full question and answer

Appearance of plants
April 14, 2009 - What is plants appearance?
view the full question and answer

Mountain laurel with fasciation
July 24, 2014 - My Texas Mountain Laurel bush has developed several "crested branches." What causes this, is it harmful & how do I get rid of them??? Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Consumption of carbon dioxide from South Korea
December 07, 2011 - I am curious about what flowers consume CO2 for growing (especially 1-year life flower). Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Plants adding calcium to soil
June 08, 2006 - Hi, I am looking for a resource to help determine the functions of native plants. For instance, nitrogen fixing can be found in Indigo, Lead plant, lupines. Are there other plants that add back cal...
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