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

Friday - June 03, 2005

From: Long Beach, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Smarty Plants on Resurrection Plant
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, I have a plant that my grandmother gave to me. When she gave me the plant it was a dried bundle; but, as soon as she put in water, the plant opened up and came to life again. Then, we let it dry and bundle up again. That was about 8 years ago, and now I put the plant back in water to let it open up. I was wondering if you can help me identify the plant. It has copper-color roots that are very thin and there are no real look-like leaves. It almost looks like coral. It has stems that are light brown when dried, but a dark green when wet and alive again. It is very delicate overall, especially when dried. The stems are thin as well and somewhat dark when wet. It looks like if the stems were the leaves as well. I wonder what it is?

ANSWER:

This sounds like Resurrection Plant (Selaginella lepidophylla). It belongs to a primitive group of plants in the Family Selaginellaceae (Spike-mosses). You can read an excellent description on the Union County College in New Jersey web site where it was featured as "Plant of the Week". It is native to New Mexico and Texas. Its ability to dry up when no moisture is available and revive and grow in the presence of moisture helps it survive in the desert Southwest.
 

More Plant Identification Questions

Is Goldenball leadtree really evergreen, as we state?
January 17, 2016 - Please would you confirm that Goldenball leadtree Leucaena retusa is evergreen as stated on this website and not deciduous as stated by Wasowski in Native Texas Plants? Thanks
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant similar to Lindheimer's senna (Senna lindheimeriana)
October 27, 2011 - I purchased "Lindheimer's Senna" at our MG plant sale in Williamson Co. two years ago. My three plants are now 6 ft. tall but I don't think they are Lindheimers. I've searched your plant files ...
view the full question and answer

Texas wildflower guide with every flower listed
November 09, 2012 - Is there a Texas wildflower guide that contains every single flower that grows in the state? I have a few flowers on my land I haven't been able to identify because they aren't in the guide I have. ...
view the full question and answer

What is sage-like plant in New River AZ?
July 17, 2009 - I have a sage like looking plant growing wild in my yard. I live in the Sonora Desert. Its leaves are purple and once a year in spring it will bloom small blooms that are lavender. It grows 2 to 3 an...
view the full question and answer

Dill-like plant in veggie garden in California
September 28, 2011 - I have a plant that appeared in my veggie garden. Looks like dill in spring when green, but the leaves smell more like turpentine! Now, 4-5 foot tall, brown, it produces lots of small, oval - not cr...
view the full question and answer

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