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
1 rating

Sunday - May 16, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Sombrerito Mexicano
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

Ratibida columnifera, almost universally called Mexican hat in English, is native to Texas and also to parts of Mexico, which leads me to wonder what the vernacular name is in Mexican Spanish. Google tells me that "sombrerito Mexicano" (which looks suspiciously like it might be translated from English) is one common name, but there weren't so many hits that I am confident that it is _the_ normal common name in Mexico (if there is one.) Does Sr. or Sra. Smarty Pants have a more definitive answer?

ANSWER:

Unfortunately, our trusty source for Spanish common names, the Integrated Taxonomic Information System does not list any for Ratibida columnifera (upright prairie coneflower). Sr. Smarty Plants agrees that sombrerito Mexicano is a lackluster attempt to translate the most common English common name, Mexican hat, into Spanish. Unlike scientific names, there are no rules governing the application of common names so feel free to use sombrerito Mexicano.
 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of a plant that looks like a watermelon.
May 21, 2012 - A wild plant came up in my bed that looked like a watermelon plant. It had small yellow blooms and then marble balls formed with prickly thorns. The balls were in clusters. What kind of plant is i...
view the full question and answer

Observation of Kalmia angustifolia in George Washington National Forest in Virginia
March 19, 2015 - On Feb. 7th, 2015 I observed a variety Kalmia on the crest of a ridge, recently burned off, in the George Washington National Forest. I think it may be sheep laurel (Kalmia angustiflora), which coloni...
view the full question and answer

Identification of willow-like tree
April 22, 2012 - Hi. My daughter is trying to identify a native tree that is like a "scrub" tree here in pastures in Austin, Texas (for a school project). It sort of looks like weeping willow, but most aren't very ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of shrub/small tree with small purple fruit
July 31, 2013 - Hi! I have a tree/bush that has come up on its own in the backyard. This year it set what looks like small purple plums. Is there any chance that they might be poisonous?
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant that smells like dill in California
June 30, 2013 - Whenever I drive over the Sonoma County, CA coastal range and to the beach (usually Bodega) as you get closer to the ocean the air is scented not just with the wonderful smell of the sea, but also of ...
view the full question and answer

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