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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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Thursday - July 25, 2013

From: Buda, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identity of small "Pitcher" plants growing in backyard
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have small pitcher plants growing in the grass in my backyard. Looks like very dark cobra. Come every summer when very hot. They are about 4 or 5 inches from base to tip of hood. I have a pic. let me know how to send.

ANSWER:

This sounds like Aristolochia erecta (Swanflower).  It is an intriguing little plant that is usually missed unless it is blooming.   It is larval host to Battus philenor (Pipevine swallowtail) butterflies.  You might be able to find some of the larvae feeding on the plants if you look closely.

Here are more photos and information from the Image Archive of Central Texas Plants from the School of Biological Sciences, University of Texas and from Tales of the Back Alley Biologist.

If this isn't your plant, please visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


Swanflower
Aristolochia erecta

Swanflower
Aristolochia erecta

Swanflower
Aristolochia erecta

Swanflower
Aristolochia erecta

Swanflower
Aristolochia erecta

Swanflower
Aristolochia erecta

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