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
2 ratings

Saturday - April 21, 2012

From: Godley, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pollinators, Wildflowers
Title: Spots on bluebonnets from Godley TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Smarty Plants! I'm trying to separate rumor and folktales from fact when it comes to bluebonnets in Texas. I notice that bluebonnet blossoms have a double white spot on the center petal that I am guessing acts as a visual "target" for pollinators like bees. However, I also notice that some (but not all) older flowers have a deep burgundy or almost black "target". My question is this -- does the color change from white to burgundy of the "target" spot indicate that that flower has been pollinated? Or just that it is an older flower and not producing as much (or any) nectar & pollen compared to a bloom that has just opened? I didn't think to tag the target center - darker colored blooms to see if they develop seed pods till now, and our bluebonnets are almost gone. Thank you Mr. Smarty Plants and it's a pleasure to help support the Wildflower Center!

ANSWER:

And you can be sure we appreciate the support!

We don't want to get into this controversy, it looks to us like the pollinators (bees) and the bluebonnets are doing just fine without our trying to find out how they do it. However, we found several articles addressing this very question-we leave it to you to make your own decision.

From Texas Bee Watchers

From Texas Image Archives - Bluebonnets

From blog biologie

From honeybeesuite.com

From flickr.com

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

More Pollinators Questions

Honeybees swarming around galls on oak trees
September 28, 2015 - A large number of honeybees have descended on a live oak tree in my backyard. They appear to be feeding on the numerous galls on the tree as if they were flowers. What's going on?
view the full question and answer

Shrubby options for a bird lover in New Jersey
September 07, 2011 - Could you please recommend a native shrub to NJ that grows to about 3-4 feet, is very low maintenance, does well in afternoon sun and is also something the birds will like? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on pollinators
February 20, 2005 - I am researching threatened pollinators in Texas and elsewhere - bees, butterflies, hummingbirds. I would like your input on the subject.
view the full question and answer

Early, middle and late blooming flowers for pollinators in East Texas
July 05, 2010 - On our farm in northeast Texas we are participating in a Conservation Program through the NRCS. We have to plant 4 acres for pollinators--early blooming, middle blooming, and late blooming. I need t...
view the full question and answer

Pollination of Fendlera rupicola
July 17, 2014 - How/by what is Fendlera rupicola pollinated?
view the full question and answer

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