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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.

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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.

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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.

 
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Monday - April 02, 2012

From: Berrien Springs, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I found a plant on a small island about the size of a hand. It is spring so plant is just coming out of the ground. It is wrapped around a bulb/flower light color with little knobs on it. The outside wrap is dark green with light green streaks and it is somewhat hard, not like soft leaves. It reminded me of a sea shell and the curlie cue on top reminded me of dairy queen. What is it? THanks.

ANSWER:

Plants are almost impossible to identify by description alone.  The only plant that comes to mind that sounds to me like any sort of match to your description is a newly emerging Symplocarpus foetidus (Skunk cabbage).

Here are more photos and information from:

If this isn't what you saw and you do have photographs of the plant, you can find links to several Plant Identification Forums on our Plant Identification page that will accept photos for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


Skunk cabbage
Symplocarpus foetidus

Skunk cabbage
Symplocarpus foetidus

Skunk cabbage
Symplocarpus foetidus

Skunk cabbage
Symplocarpus foetidus

Skunk cabbage
Symplocarpus foetidus

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