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

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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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 Cacti and Succulents Questions

Potential longevity of Century Plant bloom stalk from Marana AZ
January 23, 2013 - What is the potential longevity of a Century Plant stalk/bloom? I would like to use it in my yard for ornamentation. Will it last for weeks, months or years or decompose relatively quickly?
view the full question and answer

Removing faded flowers from plants in Georgetown, DE
July 28, 2012 - I bought a chamase rose quartz that was in bloom. now the buds are dead, should i remove them or just leave them on the plant. they wont just fall off. and the tips of the plant has new growth.
view the full question and answer

Will cochineal insects washed from cactus plants harm adjacent Oleander?
June 11, 2015 - Will mealybugs (cochineal insects) power washed off prickly pear cactus harm adjacent oleander plants if the white fluff gets on the oleander? My neighbor asked me to power wash my prickly pears and t...
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming of an apparent yucca in Ohio
March 09, 2009 - I have what looks like a yucca plant in my flower bed. but in the 3 years we have lived here it has never bloomed. It did get a little bigger and has always been green. If it is a yucca, is there any ...
view the full question and answer

Dead leaves on yucca in Georgetown TX
October 18, 2010 - We have 2 6ft and 3 smaller soft leaf yuccas out back in a kidney shaped area with a wax myrtle and a mountain laurel. The yuccas have done great but now two of them have a large number of dead leaves...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center