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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - April 23, 2012

From: Warwick, RI
Region: Northeast
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Source for air plant from Warwick RI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Would you know of any store in Rhode Island that would sell the air plant (tillandsia plant)? I've been searching around and no luck! I would appreciate the help!! Thank you and take care

ANSWER:

We are always touched that our patrons are convinced that we know everything. Sorry, we don't have a list of stores in Rhode Island that have an airplant. Heck, we probably couldn't find one in Austin, where we live.

Another problem is the common name you have given us. There are a number of plants that are consided "air plants," all members of the Tillandsia genus. They can all be considered epiphytes. Here is an article on What is an epiphyte?

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is centered on plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they grow naturally, which in this case seems to be the Southeast and Texas, at least of those native to North America. Here are the five members of the Tillandsia genus that are in our Native Plant Database

Tillandsia baileyi (Giant ball moss) - native only to Texas

Tillandsia fasciculata (Giant airplant) - native to Florida and Georgia

Tillandsia recurvata (Small ball moss) - native to Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas

Tillandsia setacea (Air plant) - native to Florida and Georgia

Tillandsia usneoides (Spanish moss) - southeastern states

We tried Googling "sources of air plant in Rhode Island," and found one article that might be of interest to you:

Air Plants Tillandsia is apparently is a mail order nursery for air plants.

You will note that none of these plants are native to Rhode Island. If you grew them, they would almost have to be indoors or in a greenhouse, due to climate. Is there any chance you were looking for an airplane plant? That house plant, native to South and West Africa, is sometimes also called a spider plant. Follow the airplane plant link to an article about them. Beyond that, we don't seem to be able to help you.

Pictures of air plants

Pictures of airplane/spider plants 

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Giant ball moss
Tillandsia baileyi

Christmas mistletoe
Phoradendron tomentosum

Spanish moss
Tillandsia usneoides

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Commercial sources of Virginia creeper
August 19, 2011 - I am looking for Virginia Creeper 'Engelmannii' liners, I have looked through most of your national suppliers directory, only a couple carry vines. Thank you,
view the full question and answer

Purchase source for Jamaica Sawgrass
November 09, 2008 - Any idea where to find this plant? Does the center sell them? Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense (Crantz) Kükenth. Jamaica swamp sawgrass, Jamaican Saw-grass, Saw-grass Cyperaceae (Sedge Family) ...
view the full question and answer

Finding Viguiera dentata seeds or plants.
November 09, 2009 - I'm trying to locate seeds or plants of Viguiera Dentata, but have been unsuccessful. With the poliferation of these beautiful flowers this fall, I don't understand why I can't locate them. Do you ...
view the full question and answer

Source of native Desert Lily for The Netherlands
July 23, 2010 - I am searching a bulb of Hesperocallis undulata. Do you know where I can get/buy this bulb I hope you can help me. Thank you very much warmest regards The Netherlands
view the full question and answer

Indian paintbrush wedding
October 20, 2004 - I live in western Montana and have become quite fond of the flower known as indian paintbrush. I will be getting married this next July, and would like to incorporate the flower into my wedding; Howe...
view the full question and answer

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