Rent Shop 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

Is there a flower that blooms only once in seven years?
December 17, 2008 - Just wanted to know if there exists a flower that blooms only once in seven years? Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Consumption of carbon dioxide from South Korea
December 07, 2011 - I am curious about what flowers consume CO2 for growing (especially 1-year life flower). Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Bird nest fungus in Central Austin, TX.
August 21, 2012 - Hi, I live in Central Austin and have different types of ground cover (such as silver pony foot)in my garden and have noticed huge patches of bird's nest fungi in between and under. Every time it ...
view the full question and answer

How do Venus flytraps really work?
May 13, 2010 - How do venus flytraps *really* work? I've read it has something to do with the hairs in their "mouth," but is there a chemical reaction going on? A physical "trigger"? Help me understand the Venu...
view the full question and answer

Checklist of native plants
March 03, 2008 - I have recently submitted my membership. I would like to know if there is a complete list of wildflowers, that one may check off as they are seen, such as the birders check off their lifetime list.
view the full question and answer

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