Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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.

 
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 Plant Identification Questions

Plant Identification
April 04, 2009 - I found a purple berry-like plant in my back yard. It has no leaves, and it is about 5 or 6 inches tall. Do you know what it is called?
view the full question and answer

Rash resulting from cutting trees in NC.
May 08, 2012 - My boyfriend was cutting some trees yesterday. He had thorns in his hands after he was done, and today he has a rash on his legs, a fever and he feels like throwing up. Can you tell me if its symptoms...
view the full question and answer

List of plants with
January 30, 2007 - Hello, Mr. Smarty Plants, I would like a list of all the plants which have been named for Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer. I would like to prepare this information for use at the Washington on the Brazos,...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification, possibly chile pequin
September 17, 2008 - Found in my back yard a plant about 18 inches tall. it has tiny white 5 petal flowers and small (smaller than a pea) fuits. The fruits smell just like bell pepper. My nose itched after smelling it. ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plants emerging from "wildflower mix" of seeds
January 02, 2007 - I planted a "wildflower mix" a couple months ago, and now I have a bunch of plants growing that I'm not sure what they are. Some of them are starting to make buds, and I've been looking on the in...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.