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

Identification of vining shrub near Fort Worth
August 07, 2015 - Please let me know what this plant might be. Saw it one county west of Ft. Worth, in a wooded area, and I've never seen this in this region before. The form is a vining shrub. Leaves are heart-sh...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Parkinsonia aculeata
June 11, 2005 - What is the name of the tall shrub I see growing wild around Austin that is delicate, with thin stems and branches, and lacy, with multiple leaves, and yellow flowers? It looks lovely growing in a ma...
view the full question and answer

Picture of Castilleja purpurea
February 08, 2015 - Can you tell me what the seedling for Castilleja purpurea looks like? Or do you have a picture?
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant growing on deck
May 12, 2012 - I can't find the name of a plant that I had on my deck, it didn't come back this year. It was a bush like plant that grew wild, it bloomed May thru August with red small flowers. My deck gets full...
view the full question and answer

Identity of a plant in SE Georgia
May 06, 2009 - Identity of a plant- This plant is growing wild in SE GA, but I have never seen it before until this year. The plant has a stolon "root" system it forms an upright stem and a cluster of flowers begi...
view the full question and answer

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