En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
3 ratings

Thursday - December 26, 2013

From: Carrollton, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Rare or Endangered Plants, Propagation, Seeds and Seeding, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Propagation of endangered plant Texas trailing phlox from Carrollton TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

1. How many seeds does the Texas trailing phlox produce per season? 2. Can the seeds be taken from a living plant without hurting it? Thank You!

ANSWER:

Phlox nivalis ssp.texensis does not appear in our Native Plant Database, but not because it is not native to Texas. It is native to the Piney Woods of East Texas, presently in three counties, Polk, Tyler and Hardin, as you can see from this USDA Plant Profile Map. It is likely that it is not in our database because it was considered extinct until 1972, when it was rediscovered. The closest we can come to providing you with information from our database is to follow this link, Phlox nivalis (Trailing phlox),  to our webpage on this plant, which has the same habitat range in Texas.

In response to your questions:

(1) Counting the number of seeds from a plant would require carefully controlled laboratory procedures, which apparently has not been reported. We found this picture of seeds, from Prairie Moon Plants, of Phlox divaricata (Wild blue phlox),  in the same genus, which indicate the seeds are quite small. They grow in pods which then pop seeds out in all directions. How many an individual plant would produce would be a factor of how many flowers were on that plant, what the growing conditions for that plant had been that year, and whether all seeds from that plant were captured.

(2) Of course seeds can be taken from a living plant without hurting it; plants throw off seeds and keep on living all the time. Timing is the problem. You would need to determine when the pods holding seeds were ripe, remove them from the plant and then put in a paper bag where the pods can burst and the seeds can be retained.

The best information on Texas trailing phlox we could locate was from the Center for Plant Preservation. From that article:

"• This species is propagated by cuttings, divisions or seed germination as investigated by Greg Wieland (1995) at Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens and Dr. David Creech, staff and students of Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas (SFA 2002). These propagation efforts are performed for reintroduction efforts and to maintain plants for the gene bank. Plants produced for educational display gardens or for specific restoration and reintroduction projects are produced within Mercer’s nursery greenhouses and within our Conservation Area. The Conservation Area provides secure, raised beds for mass propagation of plants/seeds. Each bed is provided with independently controlled irrigation and substrates that meet the unique requirements for each species. Populations are propagated separately to insure genetic purity."

Another article on this plant is in this article from The Nature Conservancy.

One last word: If you were planning propagation of this plant in Dallas and Denton Counties, where Carrolton is located, you will have some problems in that this is a piney woods plant, requiring the sandy, acidic soils of Southeast Texas. In North Central Texas, you have a preponderance of alkaline clay soils, not suitable for the plant.

 

More Rare or Endangered Plants Questions

Corrells false dragonhead
September 02, 2007 - I live in South Louisiana. I saw in a recent local paper a picture of Correll's false dragonhead and the small caption under the picture states that this flower is rare and hard to find. I took some...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for Pflugerville, TX in blackland soil
March 21, 2008 - Mr. S-P, I'm perusing the plant sale list for a couple of tall shrubs to plant on the sunny southwest side of my house, in Blackland soil. It is generally dry there because of the sun, but can ge...
view the full question and answer

Sycamore leaf snowbell from Pleasanton TX
August 18, 2012 - How do you care for a sycamore leaf snowbell. Does it like sun or part shade? How much water? How often and what should it be fed. How fast or slowly does it grow? Anything you can tell me would be ap...
view the full question and answer

Information on what Texas wildflowers are disappearing
August 02, 2011 - I was shocked to find that Texas Bluebells were vanishing. What other Texas wildflowers are vanishing? There is an endangered species list but I want to help before my wildflower neighbors before t...
view the full question and answer

Is crow's foot endangered from Delta PA
November 29, 2009 - I, too, used crows foot in Christmas Wreaths. I have recently heard that is endangered and you could be fined picking it and using it. Wondering if this is a true statement. There is still lots in ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center