Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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 - July 25, 2013

From: Buda, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identity of small "Pitcher" plants growing in backyard
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have small pitcher plants growing in the grass in my backyard. Looks like very dark cobra. Come every summer when very hot. They are about 4 or 5 inches from base to tip of hood. I have a pic. let me know how to send.

ANSWER:

This sounds like Aristolochia erecta (Swanflower).  It is an intriguing little plant that is usually missed unless it is blooming.   It is larval host to Battus philenor (Pipevine swallowtail) butterflies.  You might be able to find some of the larvae feeding on the plants if you look closely.

Here are more photos and information from the Image Archive of Central Texas Plants from the School of Biological Sciences, University of Texas and from Tales of the Back Alley Biologist.

If this isn't your plant, please visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


Swanflower
Aristolochia erecta

Swanflower
Aristolochia erecta

Swanflower
Aristolochia erecta

Swanflower
Aristolochia erecta

Swanflower
Aristolochia erecta

Swanflower
Aristolochia erecta

More Plant Identification Questions

Good website for identifying wildflowers
April 27, 2008 - What is a good website to identify wildflowers? I have done Google searches and none of the websites seem to help. Where should I go?
view the full question and answer

ID for Caribbean mystery plants.
January 13, 2016 - I AM TRYING TO FIND THE COMMON NAME FOR TWO FLOWERS I TOOK PICTURES OF ON A CARIBBEAN CRUISE. I TOOK ONE IN HONDURAS AND ONE IN GRAND CAYMAN. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHERE I CAN GO TO TO GET HELP IN ID...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant in Illinois
August 13, 2007 - I've found a plant that I cannot identify. The plant is is very short, 2 inches tall maybe, and has very fragile, thin leaves and stem. The leaves about 1" long, are pinnate, with about 20 leaflets ...
view the full question and answer

Poison ivy in Hilliard OH?
June 15, 2009 - I found a plant with five jagged leaves growing close to the ground in the trees of Ohio. Is this poison ivy or a similar plant?
view the full question and answer

Plant ID in Woodbury TN
July 07, 2009 - Please help identify this unusual plant. I am in Middle TN, Cannon County. This plant comes up every year and looks like something tropical. It has huge leaves about 16 + inches wide. and grows abo...
view the full question and answer

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