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?


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 - July 25, 2013

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


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.


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

Aristolochia erecta

Aristolochia erecta

Aristolochia erecta

Aristolochia erecta

Aristolochia erecta

Aristolochia erecta

More Plant Identification Questions

Submitting photos to assist with an ID
April 17, 2013 - How do I submit images to assist with an ID?
view the full question and answer

Identifying Rhus lanceolata in Texas
April 28, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I think I've identified two small trees, 4 to 5 feet high at the back fence line and two in the front yard flower beds as prairie flameleaf sumac (or at least some kind of s...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
April 04, 2010 - There is a wildflower growing in my pasture. It is low growing, triangle leaves, flowers are blue, five petals with what looks like a white flower in the middle. Gods blessings to all there.
view the full question and answer

Identification of a tree in Florida with bell-shaped red flowers
November 23, 2012 - A friend in Florida has asked about identification of a tree with a flower none of us have ever seen. It starts with a green pod, then flowers into, what looks to me like a Chinese lantern, or bell. I...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID in Crossville TN
July 12, 2009 - I live in Crossville TN and have found a common plant on hikes in the state park. It has long (1-1.5)narrow leaves that are green and deep red? What is it please?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center