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?


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

Wednesday - August 21, 2013

From: Spring Branch, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany
Title: Fragrance in fragrant plants.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


Why are some flowering plants known for fragrance not fragrant or as fragrant? Is it a nutrition deficiency or just the plant?


It isn’t clear to Mr. Smarty Plants what you are asking. The word fragrance  is a noun, and the word fragrant   is an adjective.

 Fragrance in plants is most often associated with flowers, and it is presumed by some people that the purpose of the fragrance is to attract pollinators. Other parts of some plants are fragrant such as the leaves of herbs eg parsely, sage, rosemary, and thyme as well as members of the mint family. The fragrance is due to the production of volatile oils and is characteristic to the particular species.

The production of the volatile oils is part  of the plant’s natural metabolism, and maybe a nutrient deficiency could affect the amount of oil production, and thus the fragrance, similar to the way a deficiency in nitrogen affects the production of chlorophyll, which results in yellow leaves.

Perhaps you could reformulate your question, and give us another chance.


More General Botany Questions

Difference between Styrax platanifolius and Styrax patanifolius ssp. texanus
November 18, 2011 - What is the difference between a Styrax platanifolius and a Styrax platanifolius texanus?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on forbs
October 16, 2005 - What kind of plant is a forb? I see the term used frequently in reference to grasses (I think), but I can't figure out exactly what a forb is.
view the full question and answer

Plant Groups
September 22, 2009 - What are ways to group plants?
view the full question and answer

Water Use Versus Soil Moisture
October 14, 2014 - In the Native Plant Database, under Growing Conditions what is the difference between water use and soil moisture? Sometimes they seem contradictory.
view the full question and answer

Ways to group plants
April 14, 2009 - Are deciduous plants and leaves and roots ways to group plants? I need the answer now; tell me the answer if some are wrong?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center