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

Thursday - January 03, 2013

From: Long Beach, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: General Botany
Title: Seaweed seed dispensers in Long Island, NY
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Several months ago, we found what are probably seaweed seed dispensers. They are dark brown, hard, four sharp points,section where it would have connected to the main plant and an open hole where the seeds could have been dispersed. Only found three during the summer. My grandchildren and I appreciate your help. Sincerely,

ANSWER:

Only the plants belonging to the groups Gymnosperms and Angiosperms have seed dispensers (think of pine cones and apples). The seaweeds (kelps and rock weeds) have a very different means of reproduction that doesn’t involve the production of seeds.

What you have found most likely are the egg cases of a shark or skate, which are often called  “mermaid’s purses”. This link describes egg cases in some detail and includes images to compare with what you have found. To help further your grandchildren’s interest in sharks and marine life, check out the Shark Research Institute, which is located in Princeton, NJ, and select “Kids” from the menu.

 

More General Botany Questions

Possible reasons for yellow heads for Indian Blanket
December 13, 2005 - I had Indian Blanket flowers that had almost pure yellow heads. Will the seeds of these flowers produce plants that will have yellow flowers?
view the full question and answer

How to distinguish male and female grape vines in Gage OK.
August 19, 2012 - Are there male and female plants for wild grapes? If so, how do we tell the difference?
view the full question and answer

Which one is huajillo and which one is guajillo?
November 19, 2013 - Recently I attended a field trip to the Leonard Garden at the Kleberg Institute in Kingsville. I took a picture of a tree that was referred to as Tenaza or huajillo. Later I took another photo of a ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on air purification
September 14, 2005 - What plant purifies the air?
view the full question and answer

Science Fair Question
December 12, 2011 - Dear Mr Smarty Plants, I'm working on a project for the science fair and I need to find a plant that can survive in all climates in order for my experiment to work. What plant should I use? I hope ...
view the full question and answer

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