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
1 rating

Monday - July 20, 2009

From: Beltzville, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: ID of odd woodland plant in PA?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Found in the woods in Eastern Pennsylvania. It is about 8 inches tall and were found in clusters of 3 to 10. They are clear. with pink and black tops. Similar to a flower, but snaps like a fungus. What is it?

ANSWER:

It is rare that we are able to identify a plant from a description alone.  This might be one of those rare cases.  We think your mystery plant is Monotropa uniflora (Indianpipe), a parasitic vascular plant.  Technically, it's a myco-heterotroph, a plant that uses a fungus as sort of a go-between to get its needed nutrients from host plants.  Indian pipes contain no chlorophyll and cannot photosynthesize -- thus the white coloration of the plant.


Monotropa uniflora

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of tree with outrageous thorns
August 10, 2014 - Can you identify this tree? It has these outrageous thorns on its trunk. They are in clusters and are anywhere from 1" long to 4" long or so.
view the full question and answer

Differences between Ratibida columnifera and Ratibida peduncularis
June 03, 2010 - How do you tell the difference between Ratibida columnifera and Ratibida peduncularis. On NPIN columnifera has red and penduncularis is solid yellow, but I have seen pictures listed as columnifera tha...
view the full question and answer

Instructions for sending photos for identifying plants
October 23, 2007 - I purchased a plant in Athens, GA at the trial garden at UGA. I have two pictures that I can email. It's growing really tall (over 6"). It has big, dark green leaves that are rough to the touch. It ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
February 20, 2014 - I'm not sure of county of origin. It was given to me by someone I no longer have contact with. When I initially received it I thought it was just a small potted vine of some type. I've had it a yea...
view the full question and answer

Name for paloverde look-alike near Colorado Springs
July 26, 2011 - I don't know where this plant comes from. However, I am wondering what the name of plant of the following description would be. It is a shrub, about 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. It grows in zone 6 t...
view the full question and answer

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