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

Blue wildflowers for Massachusetts meadow garden
September 30, 2011 - I am restoring a 1980's era barn in Massachusetts. To celebrate the roll-out of the restored barn, I would like to plant wildflowers in the hayfield next to the barn (aprox. 3 acres). I would like ...
view the full question and answer

How many leaflets does a Texas Bluebonnet have?
July 04, 2010 - How many leaves does a Texas Bluebonnet have? I have a co-worker who is making disparaging remarks about my bluebonnet plaque.
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification from Decatur GA
June 14, 2012 - Hi: In early May 2012 we visited the Center--fantastic. There was a large shrub/tree with yellow blooms near a silo. Is it Retama? Also there was a lot of a purple blooming plant in with the conef...
view the full question and answer

First flower of the year from Tallahassee FL
August 20, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, What is the first wildflower to bloom in the North Florida area each year? I appreciate your knowledge and attention to all the questions you are asked.
view the full question and answer

Seeds of mayflower
May 03, 2005 - Although I now live in Virginia, I grew up in eastern South Dakota. Several years ago while visiting SD I was walking in the pasture and noticed that many of the wild mayflowers (pasqueflowers) had ...
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