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
2 ratings

Monday - June 25, 2012

From: Cambridge , ON
Region: Canada
Topic: General Botany
Title: Leaf motion in still air in ON
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

What causes a tree or plant to dance when the other plants around it are still and no wind???

ANSWER:

Seeing a plant or tree "do" that is one of the things that brings back a childhood "sense of wonder" and a reminder of the almost magical mysteries of nature, doesn't it?  Hearing the rustle of poplar leaves on a day when there seems to be no breeze whatsoever is one of my favourite examples.

Although the air seems still, it isn't actually.  There are many factors like differential heating and cooling and structures that cause the air currents to eddy and vary in speed in different locations that are in close proximity.  Once the air catches the plant it can set it into a state of motion that is similar to a standing wave which will linger after the gust of air has subsided.

Of course that is just one explanation and a dry, scientific one at that.  Personally, I like to savour the more magical side of nature (and summer) whenever I have the chance.

 

More General Botany Questions

What is white sticky substance in the Mandevilla vine?
June 15, 2012 - When I was watering my Mandevilla one of the vines broke and there was a white, sticky substance that came out of the vine. I was just curious as to what that is.
view the full question and answer

Contacts with botanical illustrators
July 16, 2006 - I am interested in preparing 3D (stereoscopic) illustrations of plants and flowers. Can you give some contacts with botanical illustrators for guidance? Are there any guidelines about botanical illust...
view the full question and answer

USDA Hardiness Zone of Rancho Bernardo, CA
October 01, 2009 - What plant zone is Poway, Rancho Bernardo CA?
view the full question and answer

Why is my 3 year old Redbud not flowering in San Marcos, TX?
March 24, 2010 - My Cercis canadensis var. mexicana, purchased at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, is 3 years old, very robust, but has never bloomed. Any explanation?
view the full question and answer

Ruffly foliage on native lantana
November 05, 2013 - A native lantana in my front yard has developed ruffly foliage on one stem. It looks like miniature broccoli. What can this be?
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