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

Drought and pollution resistant flowers for Rock Falls, IL
February 08, 2009 - I am looking for hearty flowers for our city planters that are both resistant to drought and auto emissions. We are located in northern Illinois. Planting is done in May.
view the full question and answer

Blue mistflowers fail to bloom in Austin, TX
September 02, 2015 - We live in Austin, Texas and we have several blue mistflower plants that are not flowering. In a previous year we had lovely flowers but last year and this year we have no flowers in spite of the fact...
view the full question and answer

Native plants of Taos and Los Alamos NM from Houston
April 07, 2012 - Hi, Mr. Smarty Plants, can you recommend a guidebook for the native plants of the Taos/Los Alamos region? (I'm most interested in forbs.) I'll be headed there in May--is there anything I should es...
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnets in Colorado mountains
April 21, 2007 - Will Bluebonnets grow up in Colorado in the mountains?
view the full question and answer

Native flowers for a wedding in June in Tennessee
March 09, 2009 - I am planning a June 6th wedding on our farm. The wedding is in our backyard. I have lots of containers and several beds. Our daughter wants pink, purple, white and blue flowers. I have a greenhouse...
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