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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - March 29, 2008

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Fasciation in Houston.
Answered by: Damon Waitt


I live in Houston and have had a rather large flower garden for many years. Most of the flowers are just gorgeous but over the last two or three years I have noticed that occasionally some of the flowers spout out with deformed blossoms. White Shasta Daisy is one example. In totally different parts of the yard I have seen them spout with two yellow centers attached back to back with deformed white petals and the stalk is shaped like a ribbon instead of a stem. I donít know what could cause that. Also, a few of my purple coneflowers have spouted with green petals instead of purple petals or with a mixture of green/purple petals. This year I noticed that some of my yellow wildflowers (sorry I donít know the name) (itís a yellow wildflower that bushes out and has many blossoms on one bush) anyway I noticed that even on the same bush, some of the blossoms have yellow petals and some have green petals and also some of the green petaled ones are deformed. Have you ever heard of this before? Thank you in advance for your opinion about what could possibly have cause this and what I can do to remedy it.


This sounds like a case of fasciation, a plant developmental anomaly in which it appears that stems, flowers, leaves and/or fruits have been fused. It is uncertain whether it is genetically determined or caused by disease or some other sort of trauma to the plant. It does appear that there may be an inheritable tendency toward fasciation that may be triggered by environmental conditions such as temperature, crowding, insect attack, disease or wounding of the plant. Some fasciation may be caused by bacterial or viral infections. Fasciation bacteria survive on infected plants and debris and they spread in water and through wounds. If bacteria is to blame, the solution is good sanitation and use of pathogen-free plants. The University of Californi Integrated Pest Management website reccomends you "Avoid injuring the base of plants, especially when plants are wet. Keep the base of plants dry. To control fasciation to all potential causes, do not propagate or graft symptomatic plants. Remove and dispose of infected plants, or prune and dispose of distorted tissue and do not proagate from those plants." Here is a photo of fasciation in Texas Bluebonnet.

Lupinus texensis



More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Dying non-native St. Augustine grass from Austin
May 02, 2013 - Although we all know St. Augustine grass is not a good thing, I am stuck with it and am trying to save areas that appear to have take-all fungus. I have done much reading online and have tried peat m...
view the full question and answer

Danger of oak wilt infestation in trees with storm-damaged limbs
June 15, 2007 - A recent severe storm in Southwest Austin broke large branches and trunks on many Live Oaks in my neighborhood, including my next door neighbors'. Can this invite Oak Wilt? I'm worried about my tree...
view the full question and answer

Shasta Daisies without Petals
August 21, 2014 - My shasta daisies do not have the white petals, only the yellow center is in bloom. There are no visible signs of insects. They get a good amount of sun - about 5 hours per day. What could be the prob...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Chinaberry tree from Tucson AZ
September 05, 2013 - I have a 30+ year old Chinaberry tree and this year the branches are much sparser with leaves and there are a lot of small dead branches. Should I fertilize and what should I use? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Orange patches circling cedar branches
May 15, 2010 - We have dry rusty orange patches that circle several of our Cedar branches. There are a few orange blobs on different limbs, but they do not look like the pictures of Cedar Rust (no horns). The foli...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center