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

Saturday - April 14, 2007

From: brenham, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: More on bluebonnets
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Do bluebonnets, being a legume, contribute anything beneficial to the soil?

ANSWER:

Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet), like most of the members of the pea family (Family Fabaceae), fixes nitrogen, i.e., transforms atmospheric nitrogen into a form that can be used by the plants for growth. They don't do this alone, however. Nitrogen fixation happens when the plants form a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria called rhizobia. Not only is this beneficial to the bluebonnet (or other nitrogen-fixing plant) but it also benefits non-nitrogen-fixing plants. When the bluebonnet plant dies, its decomposition products, including nitrogen, are released into the soil to be taken up by other plants.

You can read "How to Grow Blubonnets" on our How to Articles page to learn more about bluebonnets and their symbiotic bacterial partners.

 

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Franciscans and bluebonnets
October 05, 2007 - I always thought the bluebonnets were native to Texas. However, I'm reading a book on the Missions of Old Texas and the author states the Franciscan brought into Texas the horse, cow, honey bees ...
view the full question and answer

Native Streambank Plants for SE Pennsylvania
July 18, 2013 - I help manage a nature preserve in southeastern Pennsylvania. Along the stream the banks have been beaten down by a large number of visitors for their educational activities such as stream studies. Th...
view the full question and answer

School project picking wildflowers
March 16, 2009 - We have a Biology PreAp class in our high school that has their students do a wildflower project each year. The teacher gives the students a list of 25 wildflowers and the children have to locate, pi...
view the full question and answer

Why did my Prairie Flax plant die in Austin, TX?
April 27, 2012 - Hello, We planted 4 prairie flax last fall in garden. They were all growing nicely until last month when I found that one of them has completely dried up and died. The plants are planted together a...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Rain-lily
April 12, 2005 - What is the common lily (I think) that grows in the ditches and especially this year because of all the rain. The flower is trumpet shaped and has red stripes in the petals? Very common everywhere t...
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