En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Wednesday - October 10, 2007

From: San Marcos, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Identification of plant, possibly Justicia pilosella, for groundcover
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I'm newly relocated to Texas and find I have a yard with three major types of green growing. Close to the house (and mostly shaded) is St. Augustine. Furthest out front, (unshaded) is the Bermudagrass & Buffalograss, but in the middle, (mixed levels of shade) I have an apparently wild ground cover. Part of it, I believe, is horse herb, with tiny yellow flowers. But growing with it is a similar leafed, but lavender colored flower ground cover. The flower is asymmetrical with three petals on one side and one apposing petal, with a small white and purple center. 1) Can you tell me what this second plant is? 2) Are both/either of these plants worth trying to maintain as a ground cover instead of planting other grasses? I have an acre of yard, and prefer minimum maintenace and watering. Thanks.

ANSWER:

Your plant with the lavender flowers sounds like Justicia pilosella (Gregg's tubetongue). Another possibility is Dyschoriste linearis (snake herb). Both of these, plus Calyptocarpus vialis (horse herb), should make fine groundcovers as long as there isn't heavy traffic over them.

 


Justicia pilosella

Dyschoriste linearis

Calyptocarpus vialis

 

 

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Native turf grass for Denison TX
January 27, 2014 - I have researched many grasses for sandy soil in Denison,Tx that are easy mantainance. Habiturf has been recommended but is mostly Buffalo grass and is not recommended for sandy soil. What other opt...
view the full question and answer

Groundcovers & Shrubs for Shade in North Carolina
April 30, 2013 - Mr Smarty Pants, My neighbor planted cypress trees as a border between his yard and ours and it is sucking up every drop of water and nutrient. We also have a purple plum in the area which creates ...
view the full question and answer

Short flowering plant that will grow in sand in Black Creek WI
June 03, 2010 - I would like to know what kind of flowering plant would grow good in sand? A short plant.
view the full question and answer

Deer-resistant groundcovers for erosion control
September 26, 2012 - I need a ground cover (vine??) that will help me with erosion on a sloped front yard. It gets about 6-8 hours of sun and my main need is for something that the rats in our neighborhood will not destro...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for cleared property in Austin
February 23, 2010 - I live in a small apartment building near 183 & 620. The land beyond the lawn has trees and has been cleared of brush. They are planning to seed the ground. I thought invasive native ground covers wo...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center