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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - June 21, 2008

From: midway park, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Identification of palm plant
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello! I just bought a tiny 10" tall feather leafed palm. I did my research first though, and thought I was buying an areca palm. Now after doing more research, I really have no idea what type of palm I have purchased! All the tag says is 'tropical foliage'. It has about 20 stems,really thin, each with 2-3 (no more than 3 on any of the stems) long fronds with a feathery look to them. I potted it into a 6" pot, thinking it would grow fast and then I could re-pot into a 17 qt pot in late winter or spring when it is a bit more established. There are so many that I have seen online that look the exactly like mine! The closest are the neanthebella or the chamaedorea cataractarum. One only grown 6 feet, the other 12'. One wants lots of light and the other doesn't. I need to know what you think I have so I can properly take care of it! Thanks so much! -Amy

ANSWER:

The two species you name, Chamaedorea elegans (neanthebella or parlor palm) and Chamaedorea cataractarum (cat palm or cataract palm), are not native to North America and, as such, are not in our area of expertise. Our focus is on plants native to the United States (including Hawaii and Alaska) and Canada. Our mission statement reads: "The mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes."

My suggestion is to take your question to the University of British Columbia (UBC) Botanical Garden discussion forums. They have a category called "Plant Identification" under Gardening Miscellany. The quote from their web page says: "The garden provides these forums for people from around the world to discuss plants and gardening with input from UBC researchers, staff and volunteers and other contributing experts." The site allows you to post photographs to aid with the identification and they discuss all sorts of plants—cultivated, exotic, non-native and native.

 

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Source for non-native Coleus Canina
March 04, 2009 - We are trying to find Coleus Canina (Scaredy Cat Coleus)? to no avail. We purchased this plant in 2006 and it works. The Vt company no longer carries it. Can you help me. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Finding pictures in the Image Gallery from San Luis Obispo CA
August 23, 2009 - How can I select a picture when I don't know the photographer or anything else, just the name of the plant?
view the full question and answer

Wildflower seed sources for Collinsia verna.
June 29, 2009 - Hello, I am looking for seeds of Collinsia verna to plant in my woodland wildflower garden. I live in NC, a bit out of the native range, so don't have immediate access to native seeds. Do you kno...
view the full question and answer

Source for native Orobanche plant seeds for research
January 20, 2005 - I'm looking for native Orobanche plant seeds for a research project, but have had no luck so far. We've been able to locate lots of sources for the noxious weed Orobanche (from Europe), but none for...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing, evergreen, non-invasive root tree for El Dorado CA
February 20, 2011 - We need to plant a FAST-growing, non-deciduous TREE with a non-invasive root system. Where can we buy one?
view the full question and answer

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