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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

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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Sunday - July 21, 2013

From: Windsor, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives, Seeds and Seeding, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Red pods on Canna Lilies from Windsor VA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What are the dark red pods on my canna lilies?

ANSWER:

Does what you have on your canna look anything like these pictures? In that case, they are seed pods. From e-How here is an article on Growing and Caring for Cannas. The canna is considered a tropical plant and has been heavily hybridized. but there are four plants with "canna" in their common names native to North America. Of those, only Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp) is listed as native to Virginia and it is not a member of the Cannaceae family, but of the Aponcynaceae (Dogbane) family. Canna flaccida (Bandanna of the everglades) and Canna glauca (Water canna) are true cannas and Thalia dealbata (Powdery alligator-flag), also known as Water Canna, is a member of the Marantaceae (Arrowroot) family. You can see why common names sometimes cause us confusion. You may have none of these but a non-native import instead, we just don't know. But we are pretty sure that whatever you are seeing on your canna is a seed pod.

 

From the Image Gallery


Indian hemp
Apocynum cannabinum

Bandanna of the everglades
Canna flaccida

Water canna
Canna glauca

Powdery alligator-flag
Thalia dealbata

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