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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Thursday - March 27, 2014

From: Fort Worth, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives
Title: Why is Common Horehound missing from NPIN?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Hi there, I am not able to find Marrubium vulgare, i.e. Common or White Horehound, in the Native Plant Database. It grows abundantly on our ranch in Central Texas, and I am attempting to grow it in my yard in Fort Worth.

ANSWER:

Be careful what you wish for!

Marrubium vulgare is not listed in the NPIN Native Plant Database because it's not a North American native species.  It's native to northern Africa and Eurasia.  However, it has made itself quite at home in North America where it's an aggressive colonizer of livestock lots (domesticated livestock will not eat it) and associated areas.  It has also escaped from agricultural lands and can be found in great abundance in some wild areas all across North America.  Surprisingly, Horehound has not yet made its way onto any state's or the federal government's noxious weed list.  It's just a matter of time.

As for growing it in the garden, you will probably find it a bit too aggressive for your taste and once established, it's all but impossible to eradicate.  Moreover, your neighbors might not be very happy with you for introducing a plague into their gardens.  But whether or not to plant it in your garden is for you to decide.

 

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