En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Plant identification

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 Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification in Parker County, Texas
June 14, 2011 - Hi. Growing alongside a country road, here in Parker County I photographed what I thought might be cardinal flowers. However, in searching books and on the net, I cannot find any quite like these. ...
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant that smells like dill in California
June 30, 2013 - Whenever I drive over the Sonoma County, CA coastal range and to the beach (usually Bodega) as you get closer to the ocean the air is scented not just with the wonderful smell of the sea, but also of ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of tall plant with five-petaled purple flowers
June 01, 2013 - I recently moved into a house and have a plant near my fence that has purple flowers with five petals and a somewhat thick stem, about a half inch. The leaves are sparse and it grows about four to si...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID in Crossville TN
July 12, 2009 - I live in Crossville TN and have found a common plant on hikes in the state park. It has long (1-1.5)narrow leaves that are green and deep red? What is it please?
view the full question and answer

Strange growths in flower bed in Virginia
July 07, 2008 - What in the heck are these strange growths in my flower bed?I can't even describe. May I send you pictures?
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