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

Monday - May 07, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Shrubs
Title: Desert or littleleaf sumac (Rhus microphylla) on Texas State Capitol grounds
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I am trying to find out what kinds of plants are planted on the Texas State Capitol Grounds. There is a bush that grows around the Capitol Extension windows area and I don't know what they are. The bush has a light-green color, almost like mint, and the bush has small white blossoms in the spring. I thought there was a book about Capitol plantlife, but I can't find one - not even in the Capitol Bookstore. Please help.


Mr. Smarty Plants made a special trip to the Texas State Capitol grounds to see this plant and is happy to report its identity, Rhus microphylla (littleleaf or desert sumac). It grows in rough dry habitats in the western half of Texas. The blossoms attract bees, deer browse its foliage, and its berries are eaten by birds and small mammals. With its many-branched foliage and red berries, it is a very handsome shrub.



Rhus microphylla

Rhus microphylla

Rhus microphylla



More Shrubs Questions

Different kinds of plants living in subarctic areas
March 10, 2008 - What are the different kinds of plants live in the subarctic areas?
view the full question and answer

When to Prune Desert Willow in Texas?
March 18, 2016 - I just learned I should have pruned back my desert willows. It's early March in North Texas. Is it too late to prune now? They are not leafing out yet.
view the full question and answer

Native grasses and shrubs for Houston project
November 21, 2008 - I am working on a project in Houston. As part of the sustainable approach of the project, I would like to plant native / adaptive, non-invasive grasses and shrubs. It is key that they use little wat...
view the full question and answer

Weak flowering on rosa minutifolia from San Diego CA
July 27, 2013 - Hi, I have a Rosa minutifolia and has been doing great, but when it gives flowers the petals fall too fast, only last a day or two and also the fruit never forms completely and finishes drying so I ca...
view the full question and answer

Is Crape Myrtle Native?
July 20, 2015 - Hello, I live in Frisco, TX. Can you tell me is there any Crape Myrtle which is native to Frisco, TX.
view the full question and answer

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