The Plant Puzzler is a quarterly contest featuring weird plant problems that are tricky or that may defy diagnosis.

Plant Puzzlers will be published as images, anecdotes, or a combination of the two. Prizes will be awarded for the “most correct” and/or “most creative” answer to each plant puzzler. If multiple correct (or creative) answers are received, then a winner will be chosen randomly from the replies and notified by email. Prizes also will be awarded for new puzzler submissions that are selected for publication in a future issue of the Communicator. Answers and winners will be published in the next edition of The Communicator and prizes will be mailed to winners.


  • Email your explanation for the cause of the problem to by the end of the month in which the puzzler was published.
  • Be sure to explain the logic underlying your answer to the puzzler.
  • Brush off your writing skills and be creative! The cause of some of the puzzlers may not be known. In that case, the most creative answer will win the prize.


  • Use previous plant puzzlers as a guide to writing your own plant puzzler. Include enough detail and clearly state the question you want people to answer.
  • If images are included, make sure they are in focus and illustrate the problem. Include both overall shots and close-ups, if appropriate.
  • Ensure that the necessary details can be seen in broader landscape or field shots.
  • Although you may not know the answer to your own puzzler, please include what you believe is a reasonable explanation for your submission.
  • Text* for new puzzlers and photo captions should be submitted as a Word file, ideally 300 words or less. Submit images for new puzzlers as .jpg, .png, or .gif files, separate from any text files. Email submissions to .

*Editors of the Plant Puzzler reserve the right to edit the text as necessary.