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
2 ratings

Tuesday - November 06, 2007

From: Pullman, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Plant Lists
Title: Native plant lists for eastern Washington and trace element absorption by plants
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I'm a graduate student at Washington State University in Pullman. I'm currently working out a method (in my head) of utilizing neutron activation analysis of prehistoric animal bone to figure out how far prehistoric people (in particular the Northwest) were venturing to obtain meat. I'm a relative newbie (all of the past two weeks) to academic plant lit. I am having difficulty with two key points. 1)Where can I go to find a list of native plants of the Northwest (Eastern Washington to be precise) and 2) How adept are they at absorbing various trace elements from the soil? Any help you could give me would be GREATLY appreciated!

ANSWER:

The first part of your question is relatively easy to answer. You can find a list of native plants of Washington by doing a "Combination Search" in our Native Plant Database. You can find lists of native plants in the different counties of Washington on the Washington Native Plant Society website. You can also obtain lists of native plants in each of the counties of Washington by choosing "Advanced Search" on the USDA Plants Database
webpage.

There are a large number of characteristics you can choose to display in the lists from the USDA Plants Database. Unfortunately, these characteristics don't include "ability to absorb trace elements". Indeed, the ability of plants to absorb trace elements depends on many factors. As stated by K. M. Bali and J. N. Guerrero in Land Applications of Biosolids in the Imperial Valley (1996. Universtiy of California Cooperative Extension):

"The uptake of heavy metals and trace elements by plants depends on the concentration of theses (sic) elements in soil as well as on complex sets of other factors related to soil geochemistry.... The most important soil factors that influence plant uptake of elements are pH, clay content, soil texture, root depth, organic matter content and the presence of competitive ions (such as S for Se uptake). In addition, plant species vary in their ability to accumulate and tolerate trace elements and heavy metals."

So, I'm afraid we can't really answer that part of your question. Your best bet, I would think, is to search for relevant data on absorption of specific trace elements by a particular species of plant.

 

More Plant Lists Questions

Deep Rooted Large Shrub or Small Tree for Driveway Strip
August 21, 2014 - I am in eastern Massachusetts. My condominium Grounds Committee is searching for a small tree suitable to plant in narrow (4'-5') beds which divide two driveways. Can you suggest something whose roo...
view the full question and answer

Cutting Garden Plants for TN
July 16, 2014 - I would like to know what would be in a year round cutting garden in Nashville, TN for a novel I am writing.
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for a Shady Foundation Planting in Texas
February 28, 2015 - We are looking for foundation shrubs, 2-4' mature height, for a totally shaded area which does receive bright light all day.
view the full question and answer

What thorny vine grows rapidly in Pensacola?
May 06, 2013 - What thorny vine grows rapidly in Pensacola?
view the full question and answer

Salt tolerant plants for Long Beach
May 12, 2013 - When Hurricane Sandy hit Long Beach, it has killed all my plants and now almost all of Long Beach is left with dead dried brown vegetation. I want to replant front with bushes and flowers. What woul...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center