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
9 ratings

Sunday - May 16, 2010

From: Spokane, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: General Botany
Title: Albinism in plants.
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

Greetings, I was wondering what you know of albinism in plants? I know I've found a few articles about it online. I discovered my only albino plant last summer. It was an albino dogbane plant growing amongst other relatively normal ones. It was noticeably smaller and a bit shriveled looking, yet had the morphology of dogbane. Thanks for your time.

ANSWER:

Yes, we know a little about it. Albinism in plants, as in animals, is a genetic condition that stops the production of pigment. In the case of plants, the pigment is chlorophyll an essential ingredient in the process of photosynthesis. The genetic condition can occur in seed in which case the non-photosynthetic seedlings quickly deplete their starch reserves and die. The genetic condition can also arise in the body of a mature plant from a mutation in a cell that gives rise to other cells. In this case the albino plant may survive (albeit weakly) as long as it can derive nourishment from the non-albino part of the plant. 

 

More General Botany Questions

Smarty Plants on Hypogon
March 22, 2005 - How many sides does a hypogon have?
view the full question and answer

Failure of flameleaf sumacs to produce fruit
January 09, 2013 - Our two flame leaf sumacs produce none to little fruit. Both are about 4 years old, quite large, healthy looking; flowering this year was very good, but no fruit. What keeps them from producing fruit?
view the full question and answer

History of hybrid Hibiscus Davis Creek from Cary NC
August 22, 2010 - Re: Hibiscus Davis Creek. Can you tell me this hybrid's history? H. coccineus H. militaris perhaps?
view the full question and answer

Can users sort plant lists in the Plant Database?
November 17, 2008 - Although your database searches are very useful, I would like to take it further, for example by sorting the "Central Texas Recommended" list on various columns, as you might do in a spreadsheet. D...
view the full question and answer

What does spp. stand for in Paspalum spp? From Arlington, TX.
August 11, 2010 - What does the spp stand for when talking about Paspalum spp?
view the full question and answer

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