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?


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

Sunday - March 14, 2004

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Strangling Bluebonnets
Answered by: Sage Kawecki


I have some Bluebonnets that are being strangled by some strange rope-like plant. What’s going on here?


The yellow-orange rope-like plant is Dodder, a parasitic plant that uses the Bluebonnet as a host. Eventually, it will kill its host. Since Dodder seeds can lie dormant in the ground, it is best to cut the host plants to the ground before the Dodder flowers and burn the material once dried. Contact herbicide treatment can also be used, although it won’t treat mature Dodder seed. If you have a particularly large or intense Dodder infestation, you might consider growing other wildflowers other than legumes for the next five years.

More Wildflowers Questions

Native Plants for Galveston
February 12, 2012 - I'm looking for low maintenance, drought tolerant plants for Galveston, on the bay side, in a well drained area with morning sun. I was thinking of Phlox, Muhly grass, Lantana.....and I am looking f...
view the full question and answer

Can I grow Texas bluebonnets in Georgia?
May 25, 2010 - Being a native Texan, my mom loves bluebonnets. We live in Georgia, however so I am wondering if I planted some bluebonnets in her yard would they grow? What are the best conditions for bluebonnets ...
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnets planted in late spring bloom, will they bloom again?
February 06, 2008 - New to South Texas & we decided to plant bluebonnets around our house. The seeds were planted in late spring & we were delighted to watch them start their initial growth-cycle. They ultimately produc...
view the full question and answer

Guidelines for planting native wildflowers on roadside
November 17, 2005 - My 4th grade Girl Scout troop has chosen to plant bluebonnets and other wild flowers along TX Hwy 114 in Southlake as their project for their Bronze Award. Do you have a guideline that you follow w...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower Seed Planting in Austin in April
April 30, 2015 - What wildflower seeds can I plant in April? Is there a schedule?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center