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?


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

Saturday - May 12, 2012

From: Euless , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I don't know if they are native or not, My mom bought some plants at an event at the Dallas Convention Center that all had rocks and little dirt that they sat on. The bases of the plants were large and looked like they store water. I have been trying to find some online and have not been able to. I really want to get one as my mom loved them before she passed. The 2 we had had the large bulb base with little vines coming out. The other had the large bulb base but 3 small sticks coming up with leaves. PLEASE tell me what kind of plants these are. We only watered once a month or so.


The plants you are describing sound like the caudiciforms.  One of them, Beaucarnea recurvata (Pony tail palm), a native of Mexico, is often grown as a houseplant, but can grow into a tree 30 feet high.  Although this one is called a palm, it isn't really in the palm family.  The USDA Plants Database puts it in the Family Liliaceae (Lily Family),  ITIS (Integrared Taxonomic Information System) puts it in the Family Asparagaceae (Asparagus Family) and Bihrmann's Caudiciform's page gives the family as Family Nolinaceae (Nolina Family). There are links to more information and photographs of more species on the Bihrmann's Caudiciform page.   None of these are native to any further north than Mexico.   Some of them are native to South America, Madagascar and Africa.  Since they are not native to North America (other than Mexico) we don't have additional information about them.


More Non-Natives Questions

Native alternatives for non-native, invasive bamboo in New York
March 26, 2006 - I hope you can help me. This is not about wildflowers. I'm interested in planting bamboo as a screen (25'+). I know all the pros/cons and would need to have a nursery to put in barrier. I need some...
view the full question and answer

Planting wildflowers from Wichita Falls, TX
August 24, 2013 - Hi, Thanks so much for the answers you give! You've been very helpful to me in the past. I have two quick questions: 1) I have been harvesting seeds from my wildflowers. I wonder when the best time...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native privet in Austin
November 15, 2010 - My 2 privet shrubs/bushes facing the east in a shady area seem to be have less leaves and dead flowers, while across a walk way that 1 privet shrub/bush has lots of green leaves with lots of dying flo...
view the full question and answer

Planting a non-native rose on oak tree in Hutto TX
April 07, 2011 - I would like to consider planting an earth-kind climbing rose on the south side of my 12 ft oak tree. Is this a good idea? Will I create problems?
view the full question and answer

Non-fruiting squash
July 25, 2007 - With all this rain in Dallas why would our Zuchinni and Yellow squash be beautiful and green but not produce any squash?
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center