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

Saturday - May 12, 2012

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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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

Need some help with a Plumbago plant in Mission, TX.
August 06, 2010 - Hello..I live in south South Texas and have a plumbago. It gets about 4 to 5 hours of direct sun and lately some of the branches and leaves turn bright green almost yellow. Am I over watering or is ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Oleanders
June 11, 2005 - I have 3 Nerium Oleanders. In the winter they come indoors, and are under grow lights. They are in big pots. We just put them outside on patio, and they don't look good. They still have green tips ...
view the full question and answer

Looking for the tallest okra stalk in Waco, TX.
July 22, 2011 - I am looking for the tallest okra stalk in Waco,Texas. Back in the 1950s, it was in the Waco paper but I can't find it. My Grandfather's name was Robert W. Goss of Waco, and he had his picture take...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing leaves on non-native Betula pendula
July 03, 2008 - I live in Puyallup, Washington. I purchased and planted a weeping birch on June 21, 2008. For the first few days all seemed well and the tree seemed to be settling in to its new home. Less than e...
view the full question and answer

Transplant time for small smoke tree from Battle Ground WA
June 01, 2014 - When do I transplant a smoke tree that is still young, about a foot high? It is too close to a fence, which I fear will be a problem as it gets big. I live in Battle Ground, WA which is zone 6.
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