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
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

Prairie wattle for woodland area in Austin
November 29, 2009 - Can prairie wattle be grown in a woodland area? It would get part shade, with full sun for at least half a day. The soil is a bit rocky; location is Austin.
view the full question and answer

Plants for a moist, shady spot in central Texas
July 08, 2016 - I am looking for a plant that will grow in almost full shade with plenty of moisture along a fence. We are looking at putting down some flagstone with possibly some moss growing in between, but we don...
view the full question and answer

Plants for difficult site in Jacksonville, TX
July 07, 2010 - East Texas (Cherokee County) red clay hillside, hard-packed, difficult to get to, 40' of it slopes 4' down in about 6'! Another 30' of it is flat. Between the hillside and the flat clay area is a...
view the full question and answer

Looking for a native turf grass for the Houston area
July 25, 2013 - Looking for a native turf grass for the Houston area. In some of your 2012 responses, you stated that "The good news is that research into turf-type grasses native to the coastal region is in the pla...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating straggler daisy from St. Augustine grass in Hochheim TX
May 14, 2010 - I have straggler daisy in my St. Augustine grass. What herbicides work well on straggler daisy and won't ding up the grass too bad?
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