Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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 15, 2011

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification for Beeville, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, Mr. Smarty Plants, I just saw this question on your web site: "Today in Beeville, TX I came across a plant that looks like a grass, but has a small black and white dotted flower. The flower looks like an orchid. Could you identify this or give me direction as to where I might find the answer?" Could this be a swanflower (Aristolochia erecta)?

ANSWER:

Thank you for that excellent suggestion!  Why didn't I think of that myself.  When I read "small black and white dotted flower", for some reason it translated to my brain as "white flower with black dots"  but it could just as well be "black flower with white dots".   I think you may have nailed its identification as Aristolochia erecta (Swanflower).  The text on this species page under GROWING CONDITIONS says:  "Swanflower is a trailing grass mimic, presumably to evade female Pipevine swallowtail butterflies looking for a good place to lay their eggs."  It all matches the description above.

Here are more photos from the School of Biological Sciences The University of Texas and Earthlight Imagery.   I'll be sure the person who wrote the question from Beeville, TX sees this question and answer.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery:


Aristolochia erecta


Aristolochia erecta


Aristolochia erecta


Aristolochia erecta

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Searching for a dye made from a French weed
June 09, 2009 - Dear Mr smarty plants, I watched a gardening show on cable and they talked about a place in France where they use a weed called Wod to make dye and dye fabric and several other items to sell. It was ...
view the full question and answer

Shrub with red two-globed berries
June 15, 2012 - I am looking for the name of a red berry with 2 globes attached to each other on a plant with small soft oval shaped leaves.I live in Maryland and they are maturing now. These bushes are in the park ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
December 17, 2009 - For a few weeks now the front of our school has had an on and off smell that to some was like a dead animal. To others it smelled like dirty fish fry oil. Maintenance people came out and found the sou...
view the full question and answer

Bee-friendly bush with small yellow flowers in Minnesota
August 04, 2015 - I was up north in Minnesota and saw a bee friendly bush with small yellow flowers clustered so they looked like small (4"-6") flocked Christmas trees. Any ideas? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Identification of giant lilies
October 12, 2007 - I have giant lilies that I can't identify. The bulbs are about 4" in diameter, the leaves are 4 ft long. The flowers of the pink emerge only in the early summer, the flowers of the red emerge in s...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.