Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
1 rating

Monday - October 08, 2007

From: Leander, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Marbleseed (Onosmodium sp.) propagation and use as groundcover for
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am interested in any information, esp. propagation & suitability as a landscape plant, (possible ground cover?) for marble seed. I have found it growing in deep shade on stream banks. It has a 4--6" strap-like, dark green leaf. The seed is perfectly round, smooth and white, and about the size of a small piece of perlite. I have asked other native plant friends, but no one knows of this plant and I have been told it is rather rare.

ANSWER:

There are two species of marbleseed, Onosmodium helleri (Heller's marbleseed) and Onosmodium bejariense var. bejariense (soft-hair marbleseed) that occur in Texas and both have been reported from Williamson and Travis counties. Of the two, O. helleri is the rarer, endemic to only eight counties of the Edwards Plateau and Lampasas Cut Plain. I suspect you have found O. bejariense var. bejariense (syn. Onosmodium molle), but you can find a key in Shinners & Mahler's Flora of North Central Texas on pp. 453-454 (the entire book is accessible online in downloadble pdf files) to determine which you have found. Both species are attractive but can grow as tall as 3 feet so they may be more suitable for including as accent plants rather than as a groundcover.

 

From Sean Watson, the nursery manager of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center:

"We sow seeds in Spring in our greenhouse, using sterile seed germinating mix and intermittent misting (about every hour for 6 seconds). Just cover the seed with media, about 1/8" deep. They do benefit from some shade when trying to germinate them. I have also sown them as late as July with success (again I gave them more shade)."

There is also information about the propagation of O. bejariense var. bejariense (syn. Onosmodium molle) from Dave's Garden.com.


Onosmodium helleri

Onosmodium helleri

 


Onosmodium bejariense var. bejariense

Onosmodium bejariense var. bejariense
 

More Groundcovers Questions

Low, Easy Care Perennials for Lake Ontario Shore Planting
October 04, 2015 - I'm on Lake Ontario in New York. I have a lake bank slope, that’s about 1/8 mile long and about 40 feet high, and is on about a 40 degree angle. It is very hard to keep clear. The bank has just been ...
view the full question and answer

Lawn for a Shady & Wet area in Austin, TX
July 22, 2015 - We have a drainage area that has appeared in our back yard since the neighbors’ homes were built. When we get heavy rains (like this year) all their drainage flows into our back yard and forms a river...
view the full question and answer

Non-toxic Groundcover for North-Central Texas
April 07, 2011 - I need a creeping ground cover for shade that is non-toxic to dogs. I had planned on Swedish ivy until I read it was toxic. Is Asian jasmine toxic? Or, do you have any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for shady area in north Texas
July 29, 2013 - I'm looking for a ground cover for a mostly shady area where St. Augustine won't grow. I don't want the ground cover to overtake my established St. Augustine in the rest of the yard. The area is un...
view the full question and answer

Getting rid of non-native, invasive English Ivy from Davidsonville MD
March 19, 2014 - Just moved and need to rid the well established Ivy planted on the steep slope area around the back and side of the house as it is taking over the bushes on the top and trees in forested area at botto...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.