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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.

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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.

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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!

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Saturday - July 21, 2012

From: Redrock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Can't i.d a small aroid, arisaema(?) sp.; 5" tall. tuber 12" tall by 1" beginning 8" beneath the soil level. flowers are black spathes with white spots. leaves are alternate. common plant but discreet. find them in dirt parking lots and dirt roads exposed, full sun, hard gravel and sandy soils. before it blooms it looks like a lanky indian paintbrush start.

ANSWER:

This sounds like Aristolochia erecta (Swanflower).  It is in the Family Aristolochiaceae (Birthwort Family) but its flowers do resemble some of those of the Arisema spp., Family Araceae (Arum Family).  You can see in the USDA Plants Database distribution map that it occurs in Bastrop County.  Here are more photos from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Texas and information from eFloras.org.

 

From the Image Gallery


Swanflower
Aristolochia erecta

Swanflower
Aristolochia erecta

Swanflower
Aristolochia erecta

Swanflower
Aristolochia erecta

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