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

Wednesday - August 21, 2013

From: Spring Branch, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany
Title: Fragrance in fragrant plants.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Why are some flowering plants known for fragrance not fragrant or as fragrant? Is it a nutrition deficiency or just the plant?

ANSWER:

It isn’t clear to Mr. Smarty Plants what you are asking. The word fragrance  is a noun, and the word fragrant   is an adjective.

 Fragrance in plants is most often associated with flowers, and it is presumed by some people that the purpose of the fragrance is to attract pollinators. Other parts of some plants are fragrant such as the leaves of herbs eg parsely, sage, rosemary, and thyme as well as members of the mint family. The fragrance is due to the production of volatile oils and is characteristic to the particular species.

The production of the volatile oils is part  of the plant’s natural metabolism, and maybe a nutrient deficiency could affect the amount of oil production, and thus the fragrance, similar to the way a deficiency in nitrogen affects the production of chlorophyll, which results in yellow leaves.

Perhaps you could reformulate your question, and give us another chance.

 

More General Botany Questions

Are Prunus minutiflora male and female flowers on different plants?
March 12, 2014 - I have a Prunus minutiflora and have recently learned the male and female flowers are on separate plants. How can I determine if I have a male or female plant?
view the full question and answer

Is Viburnum rufidulum monoecious or dioecious?
July 28, 2014 - Is Viburnum rufidulum monoecious or dioecious? Your database does not address this for most plants.
view the full question and answer

Is Common Milkweed a Succulent?
March 31, 2015 - Is the common milkweed (butterfly plant) classified as a succulent?
view the full question and answer

How does Styrax youngiae differ from other Texas Styrax species?
August 18, 2013 - How does the Styrax youngae differ from other Texas styrax? Where can I find a description of all the Texas styrax trees?
view the full question and answer

Guide for plants for landscaping in Central Texas
October 22, 2008 - I am new to Texas and want nothing but native plants. What is the best book or guide so i can see the plants, flowers, shrubs and trees and know best what part of the yard to plant them in? I live i...
view the full question and answer

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