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
2 ratings

Tuesday - June 09, 2009

From: Bucyrus, OH
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Fragrant night blooming plant
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

My Grandmother use to have a night fragrant night blooming plant that she referred to as "baby Jesus being born" when it bloomed. Are you familiar with anything of this nature?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants didn't find a plant with the exact name your grandmother used but here is one possibility—Epiphyllum oxypetalum (Night blooming cereus, Dutchman's pipe cactus, Queen of the Night). A couple of people commenting on this plant referred to it as "Babe in the Manger."  I found other references to that name associated with Epiphyllum oxypetalum on several plant forums as well.  You can search on the linked page given above for "Babe in the Manger" or scroll down to the entries by NEVADASKIDS or lindas43.  The first entry says her mother called it that because the bloom looks like "Baby Jesus in the Manger with the star at his feet."  Epiphylllum oxypetalum is a member of the Family Cactaceae (Cactus Family) and is a native of Mexico and Central America.  It does bloom at night and is fragrant.   Here are more photos.  Mr. Smarty Plants thinks you need to have a pretty good imagination to see the baby Jesus in the center of the flower.

 

 

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identity of plant with purple flower and tomato-like fruit
April 24, 2012 - Along the Lake Erie shoreline in Buffalo there is a summer blooming plant with a purple flower and hard flattened tomato like fruit, diameter of a quarter. It has pretty small green leaves with fine ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification from Virginia
May 03, 2012 - We found lots of asparagus like stalks growing randomly in our field here in central Virginia. But, instead of an asparagus head it has a tight cluster of leaves that are small and roundish. Any idea...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
July 31, 2010 - I have this shrub looking type plant with leaves that smell like lemons. The plant has a very small white flower on it. This shrub shows up in my yard every year in the summer. We are curious as to we...
view the full question and answer

Identification of cattail look-alike, except red
June 21, 2008 - I would like help identify the wildflowers growing beside the highways in my area so I can plant some at my house. We live in Sherwood Arkansas which is just north of Little Rock.The Highway where ...
view the full question and answer

Identity of yellow-flowered plant with stickers
November 06, 2012 - I have yellow flowered plant taking over my lawn. I used weed killers last year and it has spread this year and still spreading. It has small burs (not as hard as a regular sticker bur but will stic...
view the full question and answer

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