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?


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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - March 25, 2008

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Diseases and Disorders, Propagation, Seeds and Seeding, Shrubs
Title: Problems with Eves necklacepods (Styphnolobium affine)
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Mr. S-P, I urgently need your advice regarding two Eve's necklacepods that appear to be dying. They are in two completely different areas of my yard. One began leafing out and then the leaves shriveled. The other has not leafed out, and the stems of both are turning black. They survived last year's monsoons, but I do suspect poor drainage, as they are both on spots that get lots of runoff (although it doesn't puddle there). Could this be the problem? Can they be pruned way back and moved? Do you know what pathogens they might be susceptible to? I use no poisons in my yard.


You may have managed to stump Mr. Smarty Plants. In the first place, this plant is in our Native Plant Database as Styphnolobium affine (Eve's necklacepod) , but in several other reference materials it was called Sophora affine, thus making it more nearly related to Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel). We know a little more about the Texas Mountain Laurel-that it is very difficult to transplant, with very long roots that are easily damaged, causing the plant to go into shock and die. You didn't say when your plant was put into your garden, or if it was a transplant, but if the same conditions hold for the Eve's necklacepod, that could be causing your problem.

Styphnolobium affine (Eve's necklacepod) must have a well-drained planting spot or it will get chlorotic, indicating an iron deficiency, causing a diseased condition in green plants marked by yellowing or blanching. This USDA Plants Profile shows the counties in Texas where the plant is known to grow; since Pflugerville is in the northern part of Travis County, we can assume that your plants have a right to be there. We also know that Central Texas has the challenge of caliche, clay dirt and lots of rocks, and a very alkaline soil. Alkaline soils can deny the access of the plant to trace elements, such as iron and magnesium, which the plant needs, and thus, chlorosis.

So, we haven't really found the answer to your question or a solution to your problem. You are probably correct that poor drainage and last year's very uncharacteristic rains have caused the problem. One of the best ways to correct these deficiencies is to incorporate humus, as in compost, into the soil. Sadly, it's probably too late to do that for your trees. Right now, watch and wait may be the order of the day. If they do die, replacing them by propagating from seed, and planting them into a well drained spot with lots of organic material might give them a better chance to succeed.

Styphnolobium affine

Styphnolobium affine

Styphnolobium affine

Sophora secundiflora



More Shrubs Questions

Fuzzy Citrus Fruit on Satsuma and Lemon Trees
September 13, 2014 - A man asked you about fuzzy little small fruit-like balls that looked like tiny lemons. I have huge numbers of these on both my mature Satsuma and lemon tree this year. I get 100's of really great f...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Philadelphus Innocence mock orange from Paris TX
June 20, 2012 - What is the best place in the garden to grow Philadelphus Innocence mock orange in Paris, Tx? Also, how long after transplanting do flowers occur? Any tips appreciated
view the full question and answer

Sap oozing from trunks of Cherry Laurels in Austin, TX
January 24, 2015 - I have several mature compact cherry laurels whose leaves are beginning to turn yellow. They are in raised beds, have been properly fertilized, have compost spread around them, and are properly water...
view the full question and answer

Small evergreen plants in Rhode Island
July 27, 2008 - Please name a few small flowering evergreen plants. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Texas Mountain Laurel in Florida
March 13, 2009 - Hi Mr. Smarty, This is more a comment than a question about Barbara Medford's (Estero, FL) question of whether you can grow Texas Mountain Laurel in Ft. Myers, FL. About 4 yrs. ago, I purchased a ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center