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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 is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - April 12, 2012

From: Kerrville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany, Plant Identification
Title: Seeds of Castilleja purpurea
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

The seed photo for Castilleja purpurea is incorrect; seeds are black and poppyseed size.

ANSWER:

Minnette Marr with the Wildflower Center Seed Bank has assured me that the photo correctly shows the seeds of Castilleja purpurea (Prairie paintbrush).  The photo shows them with a netlike covering that is described by Correll and Johnson in Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas, p. 1439.  The description reads:

"...seeds numerous, the testa loose and alveaolately reticulate."

The testa is the seed coat and, being loosely attached, easily comes off the seed.   You will note the scale bar with the photo that is 10 millimeters (mm) long—about the width of a dime.  The seeds with the testa measure about 2 mm; and, you can see that with the testa missing they would be about 1.5 mm and they appear dark, if not black.  That is not too different in size and color from that of a sesame seed.

 

From the Image Gallery


Prairie paintbrush
Castilleja purpurea

Prairie paintbrush
Castilleja purpurea

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Bibliography

Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas (1979) Correll, D. S. & M. C. Johnston

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