Contact Us Host an Event 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
2 ratings

Saturday - April 21, 2012

From: Godley, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pollinators, Wildflowers
Title: Spots on bluebonnets from Godley TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Smarty Plants! I'm trying to separate rumor and folktales from fact when it comes to bluebonnets in Texas. I notice that bluebonnet blossoms have a double white spot on the center petal that I am guessing acts as a visual "target" for pollinators like bees. However, I also notice that some (but not all) older flowers have a deep burgundy or almost black "target". My question is this -- does the color change from white to burgundy of the "target" spot indicate that that flower has been pollinated? Or just that it is an older flower and not producing as much (or any) nectar & pollen compared to a bloom that has just opened? I didn't think to tag the target center - darker colored blooms to see if they develop seed pods till now, and our bluebonnets are almost gone. Thank you Mr. Smarty Plants and it's a pleasure to help support the Wildflower Center!

ANSWER:

And you can be sure we appreciate the support!

We don't want to get into this controversy, it looks to us like the pollinators (bees) and the bluebonnets are doing just fine without our trying to find out how they do it. However, we found several articles addressing this very question-we leave it to you to make your own decision.

From Texas Bee Watchers

From Texas Image Archives - Bluebonnets

From blog biologie

From honeybeesuite.com

From flickr.com

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

More Wildflowers Questions

Native Plants for a water collection pit in Bronson, FL
August 22, 2013 - I live near Gainesville, FL in a low rural area with many cypress swamps around & bought this 5 acres 2 years ago. About 15 years ago a pit was dug on my 5 acres to give the rainwater somewhere to go...
view the full question and answer

Dandelions in bluebonnets in Bastrop TX
May 31, 2012 - I have a 20'x60' front yard area where I planted bluebonnets. It has become horrifically inundated with dandelions. How do I eradicate the dandelions while preserving the bluebonnets ? Thanks ...
view the full question and answer

Forecast for 2008 Spring wildflower season
February 18, 2008 - Has there been a forecast made for this spring's bluebonnet and wildflower season?
view the full question and answer

Getting rid of wildflowers in Frankfort IL
September 02, 2009 - Can you tell us how to get rid of wildflowers? We have wildflowers on the side of our pond and we want to plant sod next year.Should we cut them down this year and use a vegetation killer? We have fi...
view the full question and answer

Is Rudbeckia hirta annual, biennial... or what?
January 20, 2010 - The desciption for Rudbeckia hirta says it is biennial and blooms the second year then further down the page it says it is an annual, which is it? Will I see blooms the first or second year?
view the full question and answer

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