En Español

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

Tuesday - May 20, 2014

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: User Comments
Title: User's comment on nativity of Beggar's Lice from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I think you were off the mark telling somebody that "beggar's lice" is a Texas native. According to Wikipedia, Torilis arvensis is an invasive species native to Eurasia. Cheers!

ANSWER:

Which Wikipedia were you reading? This Wikipedia refers to Beggar's Lice as the genus Desmodium, of which there are 17 species listed in our Native Plant Database. All of them are native not only to North America but to Texas.

This Wikipedia Torilis arvensis has this desciption of that plant:

"Torilis arvensis is a species of flowering plant in the parsley family known by the common names common hedge parsley and spreading hedge parsley. It is native to parts of Europe and it is known elsewhere, such as North America, as an introduced species and a common weed. It grows in many types of habitat, especially disturbed areas. It is an annual herb producing a slender, branching, rough-haired stem up to a meter in maximum height. The alternately arranged leaves are each divided into several pairs of lance-shaped leaflets up to 6 centimeters long each. The leaflet is divided or deeply cut into segments or teeth. The inflorescence is a wide open compound umbel of flower clusters on long, slender rays. Each flower has five petals which are unequal in size and are white with a pinkish or reddish tinge. Each greenish or pinkish fruit is 3 to 5 millimeters long and is coated in straight or curving prickles."

This article makes no mention of Beggar's Lice. The only previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer with the words "torilis arvensis" in it is this one from 2011. That answer does not mention Beggar's Lice at all, but does have Torelis arvensis listed as:

"Torilis arvensis (Hedge parsley) non-native"

 But wait! There is one more Wikipedia site listing Beggars Lice as Hackelia virginiana (Beggarslice). This USDA Plant Profile Map shows that plant is native to just about all of Midwest and Eastern America and Canada.

What was your question again?

 

More User Comments Questions

Oyster Shell source in Austin
September 18, 2015 - Hi, I was not sure who to reach out to, but I work for Quality Seafood here in Austin, and we have several gardeners who take our old oyster shells and grind them up or put them in their gardens for ...
view the full question and answer

Comments on previous answer on non-native invasives from Raleigh NC
March 27, 2014 - https://www.wildflower.org/expert/show.php?id=7827 This answer is incorrect. Please have someone review it to remove the two invasive species you are encouraging people to plant by calling them nati...
view the full question and answer

You are welcome
May 25, 2013 - Dear Mills, You are right. My elm has elm finger galls. Thank you
view the full question and answer

Maintenance policy for Ask Mr. Smarty Plants
February 04, 2008 - Greetings, I am a volunteer at the University of Washington’s Elisabeth C. Miller Horticultural library. I am currently developing a maintenance policy for our database of gardening questions and ...
view the full question and answer

Why website does not have better variety of flowers
April 27, 2008 - Why don't you have a better variety of flowers? I can't find the ones I have.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center