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
1 rating

Friday - September 07, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identity of plant that smells like passion fruits at Westcave
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Green greetings! I saw a plant in the canyon at Westcave Preserve last weekend. They are small bushes with elliptic leaves. They are impressive because the leaves smell like passion fruits. Do you have any idea about it? Thank you and keep up the great work.

ANSWER:

My best guess is that you are talking about one of the Croton species.  All species of Croton have fragrant foliage and I suppose they could be described as smelling like passionfruits.   Because I've worked with the team that has done several plant surveys at Westcave Preserve, I know that there are three species of Croton there:

Croton fruticulosus (Bush croton).  Here are more photos from the Archive of Central Texas Plants from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Texas and from Flora of Dolan Falls Preserve in Val Verde County, Texas.

Croton monanthogynus (Prairie tea).  Here are more photos in the Archive of Central Texas Plants from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Texas and from Flora of Dolan Falls Preserve in Val Verde County, Texas.

Croton texensis (Texas croton).  Here are more photos in Eastern Colorado Wildflowers and from Kansas Wildflowers & Grasses.

If you have a photo of it, you can compare it to the photos from the different species to decide which one you have seen.

 

From the Image Gallery


Bush croton
Croton fruticulosus

Bush croton
Croton fruticulosus

Prairie tea
Croton monanthogynus

Prairie tea
Croton monanthogynus

Texas croton
Croton texensis

Texas croton
Croton texensis

More Plant Identification Questions

Distinguishing non-native Wisteria from Austin
June 25, 2012 - How do I distinguish a native wisteria from a non-native wisteria?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification, possibly Phytolacca americana (American pokeweed)
September 07, 2010 - What wild growing plant has dark purple berries with a pinkish stem? The purple berries grow on their own stem and not in among the leaves, the leaves are green.
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification from Pearland TX
August 10, 2013 - I am looking for a native plant; was told it was called Hummingbird Weed. Came from Coryell County. I let mine freeze and cannot find more. It has long spikes with small red trumpet-shaped blooms on ...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID from Brick, New Jersey
September 07, 2013 - I live in Brick, New Jersey. I planted some wildflower seed from an assorted packet. There is a very tall, thick center stem with orange flowers. I'd like to send photo but don't know how.
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of purple flower in Washington state
July 19, 2013 - I need help. I am a 10 year old girl who just happens to have a brother. He has a deep purple flower with small, oval shaped petals. We would like to know what it is. We planted it in a garden thing a...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center