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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 is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - May 27, 2015

From: Chicago, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Problem Plants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Will the
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I'm becoming interested in rain gardens, and although Silphium perfoliatum does not appear to be a host for butterfly caterpillars and like most of the "giant tall grass prairie daisies" may be a bit of a thug, it does seem quite ecologically useful. However the same rather unique trait that makes it useful as a water source (collecting rain / dew? in its cupped leaves) also scares me. How persistent is that water? Could mosquito larvae mature in it? No one needs that kind of wildlife!

ANSWER:

I have not found any reports of Silphium perfoliatum (Cup plant) harboring mosquito larvae.  The cup is rather shallow (see photo below), and it is unlikely to hold water for long enough to breed mosquitoes.

 

From the Image Gallery


Cup plant
Silphium perfoliatum

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