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

Tuesday - May 15, 2012

From: Arlington, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pollinators, Propagation, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Pollinator to Arkansas yucca from Arlington TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Thank you Barbara for your answer. However, my Arkansas yuccas bloom every year, but do not set seed. I am asking for the name of the moth that pollinates them, or other native plants that serve as hosts plants to that pollinator.


Sorry, wish we could help you more. Here is an article from the U.S. Forest Service on the Tegeticula spp., which leads me to believe that is the only pollinator of the yucca. I have no idea if you have any in your area, but if you don't, you may be stuck. I tried searching on Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA) first on the name "Tegeticula", which gave me no results and then on "yucca moth," which led me to this article on Prodoxus quinquepunctellus. Since this about uses up our knowledge on the subject, because we are Mr. Smarty Plants and not Mr. Moth, we suggest you go to the BAMONA website and do some research there. It looked to us like both of the moths we found should be in Central Texas, but have no proof of it. Ordinarily, specific moths are very dedicated to a specific plant; this is the case with the yucca moth. It has a special mouth formation to make it possible to pollinate the yucca flower. It seems unlikely that some other pollinator would be attracted to that flower, or be successful in pollinating the yucca if it were.

One other possibility occurs to us. Although Yucca arkansana (Arkansas yucca) is a genuine native plant and, according to this USDA Plant Profile map, is native to Tarrant County, there is something else to consider. Hybridized plants do not breed true, or sometimes even set seeds. There is always the possibility that your yucca is hybridized and was sold as an Arkansas yucca, in which case there is no point in hunting a moth.


More Propagation Questions

Final size of a Texas mountain laurel
August 11, 2014 - I have purchased a Texas Mountain Laurel. The plant tag says it will grow 25 to 35 feet. LBWF plant data base says 10 to 15 feet. Which data should I go with? It's either plant close but not close to...
view the full question and answer

Survival of bluebonnets in extreme heat from Tioga TX
September 03, 2011 - Is there anything I can do for my bluebonnet patch in this extreme drought for the rest of the summer and fall? Should I have watered this summer? I had a good show and think seeding was fairly normal...
view the full question and answer

Information about Lady Lupine (Lupinus villosus)
April 20, 2008 - Dear Mr.Smarty Plants, Lady Lupine grows in our yard in northeast Florida, and I would like to learn more about it, especially the stages it goes through, like now the purple petals themselves are c...
view the full question and answer

Starting wild plant seeds indoors from Dallas TX
February 23, 2014 - Is it possible to start some Phlox drummondii or other native wild flower from seed indoors, and then transplant to my garden? If so, can you suggest some?
view the full question and answer

Can I Grow Beautyberry
December 30, 2011 - Will try to be brief. Beautyberry sprouted leaves in vase of branches in water. It's NYC beginning of winter. Can I plant it outside? If not will it grow in a pot inside? Thanks. Happy New Ye...
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