En Español

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

Monday - July 22, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: A cactus-like plant with stinky flowers
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Because of the green parts looking like certain cacti, a friend insists that this plant she saw in Mexico is one. Its blossom doesn't have the rose-like structure that cacti have, but resembles the infamous Rafflesia, as well as stinking like it. How can I disabuse her of the error?

ANSWER:

I don't know of a native plant that fits that description, and I am not really up on non-natives of the U.S.  However, I am willing to bet that your friend saw a species of Stapelia.  There are about 40 species, many of which have foliage resembling cactus pads, although they are not closely related to the cacti.  They are native to South Africa.  Some of the more spectacular species are pictured in the following web site. Remembering the one I had some years ago, I can vouch for the carrion smell of the gaudy flowers.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Safe distance from foundation for Sycamore from Preston UK
August 24, 2011 - What would be the safe distance to have a sycamore tree near your house so it doesn't affect the foundations?
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming crape myrtle in Italy, TX
June 25, 2008 - It's Italy, TX, again! Thanks for the advice and links, and I'll study those..but here's where I'm stumped on crape myrtle. I have two (almost) trees because they've been planted over 15 years ...
view the full question and answer

Tecoma stans problems in Santa Monica CA
September 20, 2010 - I just purchased a mature 6ft tall potted Tecoma Stance Vine (Honeysuckle), It is placed in an area where it gets at least 3 to 4 hours morning/early afternoon sun and then a shaded sun for the rest o...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Citrus Suckers
October 06, 2014 - Mr. Smarty Plants, you are the only person that has "not" insisted that the little balls on Satsuma and lemon trees were clumps of bugs. They are surely what you described in the answer to my previo...
view the full question and answer

Care of Ecuadorian penco century plant
December 17, 2007 - I was recently given a Penco, Century plant from Ecuador. It doesn't seem to be doing well. Two of the leaves have turned dark, then yellow, and died completely. Five remain, one seems to be dying as...
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center