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?

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

Saturday - July 12, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Corona de Cristo, guest or pest?
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

We have had two recent speakers at the Austin Butterfly Forum with differing views as to whether Passiflora foetida is invasive in Texas. One believes that it's well-behaved and a a great butterfly plant; the other says that it should never be planted because it is highly aggressive. I assume there's some truth in both viewpoints. Can you provide any information about the conditions under which it is invasive?

ANSWER:

According to the USDA Plants Database, Passiflora foetida is both native and introduced to the continental United States. It can be also be found in northern South America and the West Indies and in South East Asian countries like Vietnam and on Hawaii. The Global Invasive Species Database (GISD) lists Passiflora foetida as a perennial herbaceous vine that originated from tropical America, and is now a pantropic weed climbing over low vegetation on roadsides and in other disturbed places, especially in the tropics. Because it forms a dense ground cover, it can prevent or delay the establishment of other species. It favors wet areas and disturbed sites but can tolerate arid conditions. The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council lists it as an invasive plant.

In conclusion, if you are willing to manage its aggressive vegetative growth and properly dispose of any fruits that form, you will find it is an excellent larval host plant for the Gulf Fritillary. It seems more likely that it would be more agressive in the tropical environs from which it originated than in the dry climate of Austin, Texas.


Passiflora foetida

Passiflora foetida

Passiflora foetida

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Need help controling suckers from an ornamental plum in San Pedro, CA.
August 10, 2010 - I have an ornamental plum tree in my garden which produces a lot of suckers in my vegetable beds. I do not want to use harmful chemicals and cutting them back is a hopeless venture and leaves small...
view the full question and answer

Cultivar of Cercis Canadensis from Haskell OK
May 16, 2012 - We have a Hearts of Gold Redbud that first had dark edges to many of its leaves (about 2 weeks after planting). It now has multiple leaves w/ medium-dark brown spots on them. Are we looking at some ...
view the full question and answer

Beautyberry Dying Back
August 06, 2015 - I've got an American Beautyberry which I planted in the spring. It's now about 2-3 feet tall and has 3 trunks (or limbs). It's in an area which gets about 5 hours of direct sun per day and I've be...
view the full question and answer

Need help with my 25 yr old Mountain Ash in Clinton Township, MI.
July 11, 2011 - For the first time our 25yr old mountain ash tree has dying branches, we removed one branch and it seems to have spread to other branches? What should we do?
view the full question and answer

Fronds turning brown on yucca in Leander, TX
April 13, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I live Northwest of Austin in Leander and have grown a spanish dagger yucca for several years. It is 8 feet tall and each spring it puts up a showy spike of blooms. The old fr...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center