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
6 ratings

Saturday - February 09, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of native Texas plants from a list
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Please identify Texas Native Plants from the list below: Cotoneaster, Bi-color Iris, Greencloud Sage, Dwarf Wax myrtle, Nolina, Spineless prickly pear, Gulf Muhly, Bamboo Muhly, Big Muhly, Maiden Grass, Mexican Feather grass, Confetti Lantana, Blue plumbago, Mexican Bush Sage, Indigo Spires Salvia, Mexican Mint marigold, Yellow Bells, Columbine, Butterfly Weed, Bulbine, Coreopsis, Turk's Cap, New Gold Lantana, Twistleaf yucca, Soft leaf yucca, Red yucca, Sotol, Purple Trailing Lantana, Coral honeysuckle. Thanks!

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center does research and development to encourage the use of plants native to North America (excluding Mexico). To help with this, a Native Plant Database has been developed, on which you can do a search for native plants, certain types of plants, plants for a certain climate, etc. Follow the link to the database, and in the "Search" box, type the common or the Latin name of the plant, and click "Go". If you search for a plant, either by Latin or common name, and get no results from your search, it's pretty good bet that the plant in question is NOT a native. For instance, the first plant on your list, Cotoneaster gave a "no results" message back. So, we searched on "cotoneaster" on Google, and got several weblinks suggested. We chose this one from the National Park Service, and found out that Cotoneaster franchetti is a native of Asia, and therefore not a native of North America. Not only that, the National Park Service recommends this plant not be used, as it can be invasive and crowd out other, more desirable plants. This is another thing that is important to the Wildflower Center, is to avoid planting non-native, invasive plants. Anyway, you can delete that from your list.

Your list is a little confusing, in that some of them appear in our database, but not by the common name you listed. Some of them may be natives, but you have listed some of them by what are probably "cultivar" names; that is, a plant nursery has either cross-bred the native with a non-native, in which case it is no longer native but a hybrid, or just named a native plant a fancy name, or "trade" name for advertising. When you follow each link, look at the information there, and understand why we classified each one as "native to Texas", "non-native" or "cultivar." We've already told you about Cotoneaster, so we'll go to the next one.

NATIVE TO TEXAS
Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) The Green Cloud designation is for a variation of Texas sage "selected" (and named) at A&M, but not crossed with a non-native

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) Again, the "dwarf" designation is for some wax myrtles selected for not growing as tall.

Nolina lindheimeriana (devil's shoestring)

Opuntia ellisiana (tigertongue) This version of the prickly pear is a native, but may be a mutation of some sort, as all the plants in Texas are cultivated from a plant found in Corpus Christi.

Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly) Also known as Gulf muhly

Muhlenbergia lindheimeri (Lindheimer's muhly) or Big Muhly, endemic to Texas

Nassella tenuissima (finestem needlegrass) or Mexican feathergrass

Tecoma stans (yellow trumpetbush) or Yellow Bells.

Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana (Hinckley's golden columbine)

Coreopsis gladiata (coastal plain tickseed) and Coreopsis grandiflora (largeflower tickseed) are both native to Texas. There are a number of other coreopsis that are native to North America but not to Texas, and you can search for them in the Native Plant Database.

Yucca pallida (twistleaf yucca)

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (wax mallow) or Turk's Cap

Both Asclepias texana (Texas milkweed) and Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed) are referred to as "Butterfly Weed"

Yucca arkansana (Arkansas yucca) or softleaf yucca

Dasylirion leiophyllum (green sotol), Dasylirion texanum (Texas sotol) and Dasylirion wheeleri (common sotol) are all native to Texas.

Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle) or Coral Honeysuckle

NON-NATIVE TO NORTH AMERICA

Dietes bicolor, or bi-color iris, is a native of Africa

Miscanthus sinensis (Maiden Grass) is a native of Eastern Asia, including China, Japan and Korea. It has been found to be invasive and disrupting native plant communities from Southeast U.S. across the country in warmer areas to California.

Blue plumbago is a native of South Africa.

Salvia leucantha Mexican bush sage is in our Native Plants Database but this Floridata website indicates that it is native to Mexico and Central America, which are not included in the North American natives, ordinarily.

Tagetes lucida, Mexican mint marigold is a native of Central America.

Bulbine There are several different types, all native to South Africa

Muhlenbergia dumosa (Bamboo muhly) does not appear in our database, but is apparently a native of Arizona and Mexico.

CULTIVAR OR TRADE NAME

Lantana camara 'Confetti' is a cultivar of a tropical lantana. There are lantanas which are native to Texas, including Lantana urticoides (West Indian shrubverbena) which is multicolored like the 'Confetti" Warning: Lantana berries are poisonous. Lantanas are often classified as invasive and disruptive to native plant communities.

Salvia 'Indigo Spires' is believed to be a hybrid between Salvia farinacea and S. longispicata, both of which are native to Mexico. There are at least two blue-colored sages native to Texas: Salvia azurea (azure blue sage) and Salvia engelmannii (Engelmann's sage).

New Gold Lantana

Lantana montevedensis, Purple trailing lantana is referred to on this Texas A&M site as a Texas native, but we cannot find that in our Native Plant Database.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identity of groundcover in Parker County, TX
June 02, 2013 - I'm trying to identify a native "groundcover" that looks much like frogfruit, as far as the leaves and growth pattern, but has small yellow flowers that look like little lanterns as buds. I know it...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
May 12, 2012 - I don't know if they are native or not, My mom bought some plants at an event at the Dallas Convention Center that all had rocks and little dirt that they sat on. The bases of the plants were large a...
view the full question and answer

Identification of small tree in McKinney TX with puffy red/pink bloom
May 23, 2011 - Looking for info on McKinney area sm/med size tree found at water's edge that has a puffy rd pink bloom. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant that smells like dill in California
June 30, 2013 - Whenever I drive over the Sonoma County, CA coastal range and to the beach (usually Bodega) as you get closer to the ocean the air is scented not just with the wonderful smell of the sea, but also of ...
view the full question and answer

Question about dwarf oyster plant, Tradescantia spathacea
June 12, 2009 - I sm looking for Dwarf Oyster plant like the one described about 3-4 inches in height, color green and purple. But the nurseries here in Clearwater FL don't seem to know what I am talking about. S...
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