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 - May 04, 2008

From: Silver Spring, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Water Gardens, Herbs/Forbs
Title: The origin of Juncus effusus var. Big Twister
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus


Juncus effusus, var. 'Big Twister' We're trying to figure out the nativity of this thing, and whether it is safe to plant in our very wet rain garden. Thank you for any assistance...


Juncus effusus var. 'Big Twister' is really a cultivar of the North American native, Juncus effusus (common rush) and should be written as Juncus effusus 'Big Twister' without the "var.", the abbreviation for the more formal botanical variety. Apparently, the species occasionally produces spiral-stemmed individuals. Those have been propagated and are being sold in nurseries. You will also find them sometimes listed as Juncus effusus forma spiralis (or Juncus effusus f. spiralis or Juncus effusus 'Spiralis'). It’s usually referred to as corkscrew rush or, sometimes, spiral rush. As for it being "safe", it is a native so in that sense is certainly safe, but it will spread through its roots or stolons. If you don't want it taking over your wet area, you should plant it in submerged pots.


More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Companion planting with heartleaf skullcap from Arlington TX
April 24, 2011 - What can I plant with heart-leaf skullcap when it goes dormant in the summer?
view the full question and answer

Erosion Control Shrubs and Groundcovers for Steep NY Wooded Slope
November 28, 2015 - I need to cover a couple of very steep slopes in upstate New York that are partially wooded and near a brook. The slopes are about 130 feet back from the brook. Someone estimated that there is a coupl...
view the full question and answer

Will the
May 27, 2015 - I'm becoming interested in rain gardens, and although Silphium perfoliatum does not appear to be a host for butterfly caterpillars and like most of the "giant tall grass prairie daisies" may be a b...
view the full question and answer

Mosquito-deterring plants for shady hillside
July 05, 2011 - We have a part to full shaded hill side/ native woodland area that was once covered with english ivy..we managed to get rid of all the ivy but now we are overtaken with violets..maybe they are even na...
view the full question and answer

Why did my Prairie Flax plant die in Austin, TX?
April 27, 2012 - Hello, We planted 4 prairie flax last fall in garden. They were all growing nicely until last month when I found that one of them has completely dried up and died. The plants are planted together a...
view the full question and answer

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