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

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

Has Texas Black Persimmon been crossed with non-native persimmons from Austin
August 17, 2013 - Hi. I just found a Texas Black Persimmon in my neighborhood. The fruit is olive green and then black, then it explodes into a black slurry of seeds and syrup. The color is so strong I find myself wond...
view the full question and answer

What's invading my bermuda grass?
June 11, 2013 - Our grass is being totally overrun by this weed.(I don't know what the name is identify it by the description. It is in Bermuda grass and the only way to describe the weed is to say it looks like big...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID from Woodcreek TX
January 27, 2012 - I would like to attach a photo of a weed in my lawn and have you identify it. How do I send a photo? I have been told it may be ground ivy. Please tell me how to kill it without damaging the lawn.
view the full question and answer

Transplant time for small smoke tree from Battle Ground WA
June 01, 2014 - When do I transplant a smoke tree that is still young, about a foot high? It is too close to a fence, which I fear will be a problem as it gets big. I live in Battle Ground, WA which is zone 6.
view the full question and answer

Brown spots in St. Augustine grass
July 05, 2008 - Mr. Smarty Plants, My husband and I are in the Air Force and were recently moved to Cibolo Texas. We built a home and hired a landscaper to finish the yard May 07 (with irrigation system). We laid d...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center