Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Identification of a plant that appears to be a pink Merremia.
November 14, 2011 - I recently discovered a plant growing locally that was not blooming, but based on the leaves and seed pods I thought it might be Merremia quinquefolia. This week I was able to catch it blooming and th...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
August 13, 2008 - I have a plant that shoots seeds out of pods in late summer and grows like crazy. The stem looks like a rhubarb plant. It has multiple leaves, and beautiful flowers that look like orchids. I was wo...
view the full question and answer

Identification of lily in Florida Savannas Preserve State Park
December 19, 2013 - I found a lily blooming in the Savannas Preserve State Park in Martin County Florida. It is similar to a Michaux lily but doesn't have apparent spots. The foliage is also different from photos I ha...
view the full question and answer

What is the bush that has very bright red berries in the fall/winter and no leaves?
December 27, 2015 - What is the name of the bush that has very bright red berries in the fall/winter and no leaves? I am familiar with amour honeysuckle, and I'm sure that it is not that.
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree with round purple leaves
May 14, 2014 - What is tne name of the purple leaf tree whose leaves are spherical? Maybe 1 to 2" in diameter? A neighbor who has moved now, had one but cut it down before i could find out or rescue it. It wasnt ...
view the full question and answer

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