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

Sunday - May 30, 2010

From: Wimberley, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Harvesting seeds on the American basket flower (Centaurea americana)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Where are the seeds on an American basket flower? How do I get them out to propagate them? When can you get them out? Thank you.

ANSWER:

The second, third and fourth photos below show mature flower/seed heads of Centaurea americana (American basket-flower).  The last photo is of the seeds themselves.  The seeds are at the base of the 'fluffy' area that covers the flower head.  American basket flower is a member of the Family Asteraceae (Aster Family).  This family typically has a flower head with two types of flowers on it—disc flowers and ray flowers.  The tiny disc flowers are in the center and the ray flowers form long petals surrounding the disc flowers in the center.  An example of a flower in this family with both types of flowers would be  Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan) with its tiny dark brown disc flowers in the center surrounded by yellow ray flowers.  Some Asteraceae, however, have only ray flowers (e.g., dandelions) and some have only disc flowers.  American basket flowers happen to have only disc flowers.  The pink parts of the flowers are the elongated corollas of the many disc flowers on the flower head.  The seed develops in the ovary at the base of each disc flower.  Each of the pink corollas is attached to the developing seed.  As the seed matures, it dries and is finally released from the disc that underlies it to be blown by the wind and deposited somewhere that it will hopefully germinate and grow into a new basket flower plant.  In the second, third and fourth photos below, you can see mature seed heads of the basket flower.  When the seeds can be easily pulled from the disc of the mature seed head by pulling gently on the fluff attached to the seed, they are ready to be harvested.


Centaurea americana

Centaurea americana

Centaurea americana

Centaurea americana

Centaurea americana

 


 

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Standing Cypress Plants in San Antonio, TX
June 26, 2013 - I purchased seeds for standing cypress 2 years ago and this spring they look beautiful. What is the best way to harvest the seeds? Also, will the current plants come back next spring or will I have to...
view the full question and answer

Proximity of male possumhaw to female
January 11, 2009 - Mr. Smarty Pants, In regards to fertilization, how close by must a male possumhaw be located to a female possumhaw?
view the full question and answer

Looking for an apple tree to plant in Austin, TX.
December 08, 2010 - I want to plant an apple tree in my yard that bears fruit and will provide habitat and shade. Are any varieties that will do well in the South Austin area? And do I have to plant two trees to get fru...
view the full question and answer

Duplicate of English holly for Eufaula OK
January 03, 2010 - I wish to have a shrub that would duplicate the red berries and foliage of English holly. Tolerance of cultivation is also desired.
view the full question and answer

Coursetia axillaris from cuttings from Elmendorf TX
October 31, 2013 - I have been able to propagate the Coursetia axillaris (Texas Babybonnets) from cuttings. Will the plants grown from cuttings bloom faster?
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