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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - January 27, 2014

From: Albuquerque, NM
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Seeds and Seeding, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Propagation of Simsia calva from Albuquerque NM
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi - I was given some simsia calva seed from the LBJ wildflower center. It doesn't have a lot of info about starting the seeds, so any help is much appreciated! I tried starting some outdoors last year with no luck. I live in New Mexico, so it's quite dry - might I have better luck starting the seeds indoors in pots?

ANSWER:

Simsia calva (Awnless bush sunflower) is native to New Mexico as well to a lot of counties in West Texas. It is considered both an herb (herbaceous blooming plant) and a subshrub. We have a feeling that, rather than having been purchased directly from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, your seeds were purchased from the tent always maintained at our semi-annual Plant Sales by Native American Seed. The Wildflower Center itself does not ordinarily sell seeds, except for a few pre-packaged mixes in the Center Store. We went to the Native America Seed online catalog and found this page on Simsia calva (Awnless bush sunflower).

Even then, we still saw no very good information on the propagation of this plant. Although it appears on the USDA Plant Profile Map as being native to New Mexico, apparently county information on the plant had not been  reported, so we are not sure if Bernalillo County has the soils and other conditions favorable to this plant. We found an article from Naturalist.org  which you should read and note the comments under "Range:"

"In the United States, Simsia calva is prominent throughout Texas, through the trans-Pecos mountains, and leading into New Mexico's southeastern portion." Since Bernalillo County is in north central New Mexico, that might have a bearing on why your seeds did not come up.

From the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, here is an article that includes propagation and preservation information on these seeds. If you intend to retry propagation with the seeds you have, you might want to test the viability of them. If you are interested in doing your own checking on the viability of seeds, see this article from About.com on How to Test Old Seeds.

 

From the Image Gallery


Awnless bush sunflower
Simsia calva

Awnless bush sunflower
Simsia calva

Awnless bush sunflower
Simsia calva

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Forget-me-nots choking a spring in Bethlehem PA
June 20, 2013 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I am restoring a native plant area along a spring that feeds directly into our local creek. Right now the spring is becoming choked with forget-me-nots, that I am trying ...
view the full question and answer

Low maintenance plants for crack in concrete
July 01, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I would like to grow some very low maintenance weeds, mosses and flowers out of a crack in a slab of concrete. Can you recommend any species that would do well in this sort...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for a littoral zone in Fort Myers, Florida
June 05, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, What native plants would you recommend for the littoral zone on a pond in Fort Myers Florida? Damon's Mom
view the full question and answer

Red beebalm in Austin, TX.
July 04, 2013 - Dear Mr.Smarty Plants - I purchased a bee balm plant from my favorite Austin nursery - Natural Gardner, and so was accessing your site for growing suggestions. My bee balm is red, and I didn't see a...
view the full question and answer

Native perennial winter plants for Waco, TX
November 03, 2004 - I live in the Waco area, and would like to know winter plants that I could use that would come back each year, flowering or otherwise.
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center