Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Friday - June 08, 2007

From: Cleveland, OH
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Vines
Title: Identification of Matelea reticulata
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I recently saw blooming in an Austin park a small white-green flower ( 3/4 ") with a center that looked like a small pearl. Any idea what it is. I can't find it in my flower book, It was on a waist high somewhat leggy bush.


What you saw was Matelea reticulata (pearl milkweed vine), one of Mr. Smarty Plants favorite plants. It, along with other members of the Family Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family), is a host for the monarch butterfly. Texas has a wealth of milkweeds for monarchs to feed on.


Matelea reticulata

Matelea reticulata

Matelea reticulata




More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of shrub in South Carolina
December 12, 2011 - First, I'm in Iraq but trying to write a book and have a question on a plant that grows in South Carolina. All I can do is describe it. The bush is normally green but turns red, has large leaves, kin...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of shrub with thorns and purple flowers
July 05, 2011 - I have a small tree or shrub, it has very small or thin thorns on the branches. It blooms in April / May. The flowers are purple. My mother-in-law said that it has been around for over 100 years, b...
view the full question and answer

Is there a red esperanza (Tecoma stans)?
October 06, 2011 - There is a red esperanza that I pass by everyday on my way home from work. I have never seen this plant anywhere but this particular spot. Is there really a variety that is red or do you think it is...
view the full question and answer

Plant with red berries that grows near the Warner River
August 04, 2008 - We live next to a river, the Warner River, and every year these plants with red berries appear next to the river. we have search for name to no avail: the leaf is unique with one large spade shaped ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Hesperaloe parviflora
August 02, 2005 - On the home page of this website (right of center) there is a plant with the long stems and pink flowers and with green pods or seeds, also. Could you please tell me the name of this flower? We have ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.