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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - December 06, 2011

From: Golden, MS
Region: Southeast
Topic: Rare or Endangered Plants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Information on orchid Spiranthes odorata from Golden MS
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in N.W. MS and am fortunate enough to receive 'Wildflower'. Even though it's geared to TX I was wondering if you can provide me information on the Spiranthes odorata that sprang up in my yard this Summer. Where I saw them growing, I have something around them to prevent their being mowed down. I'm a windowsill orchid grower of 12 yrs. and you can't imagine how thrilled I was when I saw at least a dozen this past Summer scattered about the yard. I took pics. should you wish to see them.

ANSWER:

Thank you for the nice words about the Lady Bird Wildflower Center magazine Wildflower. While we admit we are headquartered in Austin, TX, we are looking at our Winter 2011 issue and see articles about places and plants in many parts of the United States. Mr. Smarty Plants answers question on native plants from all 50 states and Canadian provinces. We also receive questions from many foreign countries, allthough, by definition, we can't help them much, since we are dedicated to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native to North America. In our Native Plant Database, you will find a list of over 7200 plants native to North America. You can sort them by the state in which plants grow natively, type of plant (shrub, tree, etc) and find pictures and propagation instructions. So, we live in Texas, but we do know about the rest of the country.

From Flora of North America, here is a rather scholarly article on Spiranthes odorata (Marsh lady's tresses). From Missosuri Botanical Garden, a little more understandable article. Also from Flora of North America here is information on Spiranthes cernua (Nodding lady's tresses).There seems to be some confusion in various references about these two orchids. Sometimes one is named as a synonym for the other and vice versa. Botanists like to change the names of plants every few years just to keep Mr. Smarty Plants on his toes. 

We suggest you follow the plant links on both orchids to our webpages on them, and also read the Flora of North America articles. Thank you for offering us pictures; unfortunately, we are not set up in Mr. Smarty Plants to receive pictures.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Marsh lady's tresses
Spiranthes odorata

Nodding lady's tresses
Spiranthes cernua

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

First wildflower to bloom in Madison Ohio
February 01, 2009 - What is the first wildflower to bloom in spring in Madison, Ohio 44057. Is it the snowdrop?
view the full question and answer

Bird-friendly plants for the Texas coast
July 13, 2012 - I'm interested in starting a native plant garden, specifically with an eye towards providing food (either from the plants or insects that are attracted to the plants) for migratory birds. However, s...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID from Villa Hills KY
April 21, 2013 - Hello I have this plant but I don't know what it is. I want to know if it's edible or what it is. I think it's catnip.
view the full question and answer

How to tell the difference between native and non-native thistles
March 13, 2013 - It's thistle time already. There are many plants in the aster family with thistle in their common name. Are "real" thistles only those in the genus Cirsium, or are there others as well? We are tryi...
view the full question and answer

Plants to stabilize sandy slope in Massachusetts
September 23, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smartypants, I am working on a small public housing project in Chelmsford, MA, northwest of Boston. We have a steep, sunny and SANDY slope and I am stumped as to what to recommend that wi...
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