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

Monday - April 30, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Hardiness of bluebonnet seeds under water and white bluebonnets
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I was trying to find out more about the hardiness of bluebonnets. We own a lot on Lake Travis near Spicewood Texas. As you are probably aware, the lake was very low this spring due to a drought that started in late 2005. One unexpected benefit of the drought was a massive growth of bluebonnets in the shoreline area that is almost always under water. It amazed me that the seeds/plants would survive being inundated for such long periods of time and then spring forth in the most dense growth of blue bonnets Ive ever seen. If youd like to see the photos, Id be glad to share them. Each photo file is quite large because I took them with a 10 Mega pixel camera. We also had a white blue bonnet that we found in Spring 2005 in an area away from the shore line and found in the exact same place in 2007. Interestingly there are no other white bluebonnets in that area nor did we find them in the massive growth that was along the shoreline. Thanks for being available for these inquiries.

ANSWER:

Bluebonnets are annuals; that is, they have to come up from seed each year. Was the area underwater last summer when bluebonnets were going to seed? If there were bluebonnets blooming in the same general area last year, it is more than likely that seeds from last year's crop produced the plants blooming this year. Bluebonnet seeds are dispersed mechanically when the dry seed pods burst and fling the seeds out. They can travel by gravity downhill if there is no vegetation in the way. Also, rain could wash them downhill. I don't believe that the seeds could survive longterm submersion in water, but it is possible that some seeds floated in from another area and were deposited as the lake receded.

Please see the answer to a recent question for a discussion of white bluebonnets.

 

 

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Overwintering Texas bluebonnets
November 17, 2011 - I planted Texas Bluebonnet and I want to know how to save them through the winter months. I think they are so beautiful. Can I cover them with something?
view the full question and answer

Native Texas Plants for a Terrarium
October 08, 2014 - I have a 55-gallon aquarium that I would like to make into a terrarium. Are there any Texas native plants that would do well in the limited artificial light of the tank? The plants should be of varyin...
view the full question and answer

Source for seeds of Mexican primrose from Dallas
April 25, 2013 - Can I purchase Mexican Evening Primrose seeds now for planting in the fall or do I need to wait for the fresh crop of seeds that will be gathered from this spring flowering. How can I be assured the ...
view the full question and answer

Plant Suggestions for Shady Site under Trees in Alabama
April 03, 2014 - I live in Montgomery, AL and have a bare area (20' x 5) that's shady and soil erosion is a problem. Grass stops growing at the drip line of the trees here. Do you have any suggestions for growing s...
view the full question and answer

Meadow garden for Colorado Springs CO
June 03, 2012 - We recently purchased a restored home on a mesa just above the downtown area of Colorado Springs on the front range. The previous owners seeded the front lawn with blue gramma and told me that all I ...
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