Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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

Wednesday - June 11, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Native trees and shrubs for Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello, I'm searching for a small or medium-sized endemic or native tree (or tree-like shrub) to feature in the front yard of my South Austin bungalow. I want something that provides dappled shade so I can grow a wide variety of plants beneath it, something long lived and preferably thorn-free (but that's the lowest priority). I like the shape of the mimosa and the mesquite, but they don't qualify. Crepe myrtle doesn't seem quite as Texan as I'd like. Perhaps a sumac? Love your site!

ANSWER:

Crape myrtle isn't even considered native to North America, but to Korea, China and Japan. And the crape myrtles available commercially have been so extensively hybridized for color and time of bloom, they would hardly be recognizable in their original forms. But there are several small trees and large shrubs that LOOOOve Austin, and will give you a range of choice.

Bauhinia lunarioides (Texasplume)

Cercis canadensis var. mexicana (Mexican redbud)

Chilopsis linearis (desert willow)

Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum)

Taxodium distichum (bald cypress)

Eysenhardtia texana (Texas kidneywood)

Ilex decidua (possumhaw)

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac)


Bauhinia lunarioides

Cercis canadensis var. mexicana

Chilopsis linearis

Prunus mexicana

Taxodium distichum

Eysenhardtia texana

Ilex decidua

Rhus virens

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Native flowering plants for Frisco, Texas
August 12, 2015 - Hi There, I recently moved from Ohio, Cleveland to TX, Frisco. Could you please suggest me native flowering plants in my back yard and front yard. I like different flowers.
view the full question and answer

What causes rock rose branches to snap off?
August 30, 2013 - my small texas rock rose branches keep snapping in the center. What is causing this and what can I do?
view the full question and answer

Evergreen hedge for NY
February 26, 2012 - I am looking for a native evergreen shrub that could be used as a hedge or privacy screen on the Rockaway peninsula in Queens county. It is a beach community with sand soil ( except where it has been...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen for privacy in PA
July 18, 2011 - We need to plant a privacy/sound barrier hedge/hedgerow and my husband says it must be evergreen. I am not familiar with which species would be native to our area and I just don't trust those big sto...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for a small tree for cemetery in NH.
August 30, 2012 - I would like suggestions for picking a SMALL tree for a rural cemetery in Winchester, NEW HAMPSHIRE. Would the delicate Japanese Elm be suitable for the weather, etc?
view the full question and answer

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