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

Non-berrying possumhaw from Austin
June 05, 2014 - I planted a possumhaw 8 to 10 years ago for the beautiful winter color, it has never set berries. I see tiny white flowers along the branches each spring, and always hope this will be the year, but I...
view the full question and answer

Native plant for border in central coastal Texas
September 29, 2015 - I am looking for a native plant suggestion for a border along my front porch in central coastal Texas. My site has heavy gumbo soil and strong sunlight. I want something not more than 2 or 3 feet t...
view the full question and answer

Recovery of an agarita having been cut down from San Antonio, TX
August 16, 2013 - I had an agarita adjoining a cedar and a volunteer hackberry in my yard. The tree trimmers were supposed to cut out the hackberry but unfortunately also cut the agarita back to the ground. How long ...
view the full question and answer

New nursery plants with sappy spots from Round Rock, TX
September 09, 2012 - We live on the west side of RR, near Cedar Park and recently bought three 15 gallon cherry laurels from a nursery. Started to plant them today as we bought them a week ago and noticed base of the trun...
view the full question and answer

Is non-native cotoneaster poisonous to goats from Eureka CA
August 19, 2011 - I have heard that cotoneaster is poisonous to goats and other animals. We are trying to get rid of it in our yard, but I was hoping we could use goats to eat it back. What are our options in removin...
view the full question and answer

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