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 vine in New York
May 15, 2012 - I have a flowering vine that grows against my home and I'm not sure what it is, but it's beautiful with a delicate scent. The flowers look like clusters of mini purple pea pods hanging downward befo...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant responsible for thorns in dogs' fur
October 02, 2009 - Do you know of a plant or bush that has very small, very thin triangle shaped thorn? My dogs have been coming in with these in their fur and I want to get rid of the plant/bush they are coming from.
view the full question and answer

Identity of fast growing vine in San Francisco
March 20, 2016 - Really need to know what kind of vine is growing rapidly in the garden. Can't find out in plant identification: started to grow profusely after rainfall. Grows at rate of 6-8" per day (!). Has ivy-l...
view the full question and answer

Identity of tree in South Carolina
August 18, 2015 - I don't know if this is native as I'm new to South Carolina. This is a tree about 40' tall. The leaves are trilobal, 10" to a foot across/long and are trilobal, not glossy and have big veins. T...
view the full question and answer

Key for Verbesina virginica
June 16, 2014 - Are the stems of Verbesina virginica hairy? My in-laws have what I believe is Verbesina virginica (blooms in September here in VA) and another wild flower that blooms before it and is yellow. I'd l...
view the full question and answer

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