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

Thursday - October 04, 2012

From: Dinwiddie, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of a plant saprophytic on oaks
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What is name of plant poking up through the leaves near base of oak tree that appears as a cluster of yellow-brown stalks that resemble small pinecones or pineapples or cobs of corn?

ANSWER:

This sounds like Conopholis americana (American cancer-root), a saprophytic plant that feeds on the roots of oak trees.   Here is more information from Illinois Wildflowers and from Plants of Wisconsin.  Here are photos from Southwest Virginia Flora.

If this isn't the plant you saw and you have photos of it, please visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that accept photos of plants for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


American cancer-root
Conopholis americana

American cancer-root
Conopholis americana

American cancer-root
Conopholis americana

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
June 14, 2008 - I have a plant or weed that is a five leaf leave and it is greenish-red and shinny. I have been searching the internet and can't seem to find what it is. It is spread throughout my back yard an...
view the full question and answer

Origin of name Bluedicks (Dichelostemma capitatum)
March 21, 2008 - Why are Blue Dicks called that? I do a weekly wildflower update on the radio and I don't know the answer!
view the full question and answer

Was my grandmother growing a Honeysuckle Bush in Middleton, Idaho?
May 17, 2010 - I would like to know the name of the flowering bush that grew in the backyard of my grandmother's house in Middleton, Idaho. I remember it to be purple in color and had petals with what I used to ca...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
April 16, 2010 - No pictures only memory. It looks like a dried flower and grows with other wildflowers along roadside. It is mostly purple or blue purple and sometimes called statis. Stems favor dandelions, only t...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification in Houston, TX
October 10, 2013 - This plant to a bout a foot high. It almost looks like a weed and has a 2 in. furry top at the end. Also they were all gathered in a clump randomly around each other. What is this ?
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