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

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

Bloom stalk not visibly connected to Century Plant from Johnson City, TX
July 31, 2013 - Can anyone tell my why my Century Plant is growing a bloom stalk a couple of feet away from my plant instead of up through the middle? Ive never seen one do that and it strikes me as being rather odd!
view the full question and answer

Need help with century plant in Willis, TX
September 21, 2014 - Ok so I have two gorgeously monstrous century plants in my yard..I love em BUT I don't know if the have ever bloomed but since I am removing pups as fast as I can during the rainy season I'm assumin...
view the full question and answer

Need help with yucca palm in New York City, NY.
November 10, 2011 - I have had my yucca palm plant for almost 10 years. The bark has started to peel off although leaves seem fine. The second smaller separate yucca plant has half its bark and trunk gone. I can't see a...
view the full question and answer

How to prune Opuntia ellisiana in Decatur, GA.
August 20, 2009 - Hi Mr SP--How do I go about pruning an Opuntia ellisiana? I have saws, newspaper, heavy leather gloves, goggles, etc. But my question is more about what section of the plant to cut. The base has de...
view the full question and answer

Information about prickly pear cactus for school project
October 19, 2012 - Hello my name is Case Danzeiser. I go to a middle school called Clint Small Middle School in Austin, Texas. We are doing a species study on a native Texas plants and animals. I choose to study the pri...
view the full question and answer

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