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
1 rating

Sunday - February 10, 2008

From: Newark, DE
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: How to eradicate chameleon plant (Houttuynia cordata)
Answered by: Nan Hampton


How do I get rid of a invasive ground covering plant called Camelion without hurting the ground so I can plant something else?


Mr. Smarty Plants thinks you must be talking about Houttuynia cordata (chameleon plant), a native of Asia that has been introduced as an ornamental. Although it doesn't appear on the USDA's Invasive Species database yet, it does appear on the Global Invasive Species Database as a species to be watched because it grows and spreads so rapidly. It is also difficult to eradicate. One reason it is difficult to control is that it spreads from underground rhizomes and can root from broken stems and pieces of plants that fall to the ground. This database recommends manually removing the plants and as many of the roots and rhizomes as possible and disposing of them by incinerating them. They suggest that this will have to be repeated several times to completely get rid of the plants. In other words, you will need to be vigilant to completely eradicate this pest! This is the least harmful method to your land for eradicating this pest. Another possibility is chemical treatment although it appears that this plant is somewhat resistant to herbicides. The Wildflower Center neither condemns nor condones the use of herbicides. Sometimes they are a viable solution, but we don't make specific herbicide recommendations. If you decide to pursue a chemical solution, please be sure that you follow carefully the instructions that come with the herbicide to protect yourself and the environment. You might also check with the Delaware Cooperative Extension to see if they have dealt with eradicating this pest in your area. They do have an article, "Your Lawn's 25 Worst Weed Enemies", that discusses chemical weed control.

You can also read a previous answer to a question from someone in Texas who was having a similar problem with Houttuynia cordata.


More Invasive Plants Questions

Violets becoming invasive in Prince Edward Island, Canada
March 18, 2009 - Last Spring I planted several violets and by the end of the Summer they have become an invasion in my garden. I'm afraid that they will get into my lawn and cause a real problem. Any way of getting r...
view the full question and answer

Can bastard cabbage be eaten from Austin
May 02, 2013 - On a local cooking show they were talking about cooking local foods and mentioned bastard cabbage but never showed how to cook it or if it was in fact edible. Would be a way to help get rid of it if ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native and invasive bamboos from Staten Island, NY
May 19, 2013 - Hi I put some black Bamboo and some bias Bamboo in a large container about 6ft by 2ft and ht 18 inches .How can I get this Bamboo to thrive ? Suggestions on types of plant food or fertilizer or ant t...
view the full question and answer

Poverty Weed in Wimberley, Texas
September 20, 2008 - I have seen differing reports about the native plant, Baccharis neglecta or Poverty Weed. Some reports say it is invasive and others consider it an acceptable native plant. I have quite a few Povert...
view the full question and answer

Distinguishing non-native Wisteria from Austin
June 25, 2012 - How do I distinguish a native wisteria from a non-native wisteria?
view the full question and answer

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


Biological Control of Invasive Plants in the United States (2004) Coombs, E. M. , J. K. Clark , G. L. Piper; A. F. Cofrancesco

Invasive Plants: Changing the Landscape of America (2000) Westbrooks, R. G.

Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center