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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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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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Friday - March 21, 2008

From: Avalon, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Origin of name Bluedicks (Dichelostemma capitatum)
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Why are Blue Dicks called that? I do a weekly wildflower update on the radio and I don't know the answer!

ANSWER:

Neither do we.  Blue Dicks (or Bluedicks) is a common name for Dichelostemma capitatum, a Southwestern US native in the family Liliaceae.  Dichelostemma refers to appendages on the stamens.  Depending on which literature you search, you may find this species listed under the synonymous names Brodiaea capitata, Brodiaea pulchells, Dichelostemma lacuna-vernalis, Dichelostemma pulchellum, Dichelostemma pulchellum var. capitatum, or Hookera pulchella.  Unfortunately, we could find no references which described the origin of the common, Blue Dicks.  Our conjecture, though, is that the name has its origin in the colorful language of early California miners or settlers.

 

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