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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Friday - September 21, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Plant Identification
Title: Identification of red lily-like blossom in Austin, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Rain at last in Austin! The rain lilies are up, but wait, what on earth is this? Lily like, 6 petals, but a cluster of 6 stalks w/blood red blooms slightly larger than our rain lilies - Off under a fence, in under some Mexican apple trees. . .

ANSWER:

I suspect what you found is Lycoris radiata, a native of China and Japan.   It has several common names—hurricane lily, red spider lily, surpise lily, red magic lily and more.   The last two names refer to the fact that you look up one day to find a patch of beautiful red blooms in a place you hadn't remembered seeing even a plant before.  Their lily-like leaves would have been there before the blooms but they die back before the blossoms appear and they return after the blossoms are gone.  They also come in other colors—white, pale pink, yellow and others.

Here are more photos and information from The Bulb Hunter and Botany Boy, Plant Encyclopedia.

If this isn't the plant you have seen, please take photos and then visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that accept photos of plants for identification.

 

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