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 - September 27, 2008

From: Milford, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Ferns
Title: Ferns that smell like cucumber
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Are there ferns that smell like cucumber?

ANSWER:

We could locate no ferns that smell like cucumber, but we bet we know what you are talking about. Sanguisorba minor, Salad Burnet, (Floridata) is an herb native to Europe, Africa and Asia, but brought to North America by the Pilgrims. Obviously not a native to North America, and therefore out of our usual expertise, but if you will look at this page of pictures of Salad Burnet and then at the pictures of native Adiantum capillus-veneris (common maidenhair) below, we think you'll see how they could be confused. Maidenhair fern is a native of Texas and several other states, not including Pennsylvania. We're guessing if you have seen this herb in gardens in your area, you mistook it for a fern. It does have a lovely cucumber fragrance and is often used in salads to add a cucumber "presence" without having to slice a cucumber.

 

From the Image Gallery


Southern maidenhair fern
Adiantum capillus-veneris

Southern maidenhair fern
Adiantum capillus-veneris

Southern maidenhair fern
Adiantum capillus-veneris

More Ferns Questions

Yellowing fern houseplants from Lancaster PA
April 10, 2013 - I have fern houseplants about 9 to 12 months old and they are turning yellow. I don't overwater and they get good light. They are growing well but I don't understand the yellowing and falling off! ...
view the full question and answer

Container plants for Arlington TX
February 10, 2012 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I just moved to Arlington, TX. I am trying to create a container garden on my apartment balcony. What flowers, herbs, vegetables, and fruit combinations can I put together that wil...
view the full question and answer

Identity of a fern-like plant in Nashville TN.
July 30, 2009 - There is a fern like plant that is growing in partial sun in my front yard. It closes and opens with the sun. Its leaves are lacy and long; so far no flowers. I have pictures but not for this format...
view the full question and answer

Pool-side ornamentals for south Louisiana
May 07, 2012 - We live in south Louisiana and are re-doing the plants around our pool. What are some low maintenance, small shrubs (flowering) or other ornamentals that would be good in this area?
view the full question and answer

Growing mosses in the Pacific Northwest
February 05, 2015 - Can you provide information on types of Mosses as well as Microferns in the Northwest Mountain region near Seattle? I assume that Mosses and Microferns are more resilient to foot traffic (i.e.Cush...
view the full question and answer

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