Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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?

Share

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
1 rating

Thursday - March 27, 2008

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Possibly non-native succulent identification
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My mother has a plant that grows on a stalk, 2.5' tall, leaves are about 4-5" on the mature plant. The leaves are scalloped on the edges and seeds grown in the scallops & fall off and make new plants. The plant is very invasive. The flowers start forming in December and are light green, when they finally open they are coral colored bells that hang down toward the ground, they kind of look like an umbrella of coral bells. What is this called? I tried coral bell but it doesn't look like this plant.

ANSWER:

This sounds a lot like some kind of succulent. Since many succulents are not native to North America, it might not fall into our area of expertise, since the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is focused on the care and propagation of plants native to North America. We found a website from the Sonora Desert Museum on succulents that might help you get started. Ordinarily, succulents are not that invasive, but some are. Rather than try guessing, who don't you send us a digital picture, following the instructions on the lower right hand corner of the Mr. Smarty Plants page under "Plant Identification." Then, we'll see if some of our plant experts can figure out what it is.
 

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Taking down a Century Plant blooming stalk from Fair Oaks Branch TX
August 09, 2013 - Our century cactus looks like it's in the final stages of blooming and I read on your site that the original plant dies. Can we go ahead and cut down the tall blooms?
view the full question and answer

New agave plants, offshoots of parent plant, transplanting
September 16, 2007 - I have different varieties of Agaves that are sending off new plants from the mother. Some have 1-2 and some have 6-7 plants. Is there a proper method for removing (cutting them a certain way) for t...
view the full question and answer

Source for DNA sequencing of Opuntia species
March 04, 2014 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I am trying to do a Opuntia speciation study, and rather just identifying the species by morphological comparison, I would also like to go a little deeper by comparing the DNA...
view the full question and answer

Trimming damaged leaves on agaves
February 05, 2009 - Some of the leaves on my agaves are damaged. Can I cut them off? If yes, how can I prevent the wound from becoming infected? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Yuccas and prickly pears for Warren MI
February 11, 2009 - What type of yuccas and prickly pears will survive in the Detroit, Michigan area? Also, can I grow Santa Rita prickly pear in a pot?
view the full question and answer

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