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

Sunday - July 27, 2008

From: House Springs, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Wildflowers to grow in dense crownvetch in Missouri
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What wildflowers might grow in dense crownvetch?

ANSWER:

Coromilla varia, crownvetch, is not a true vetch but a cool season, hardy perennial legume. It was introduced from Europe and southeast Asia during the 1950's as groundcover, and a bank and slope stabilizer. It is intolerant of shade. Because it is a legume, it is also used as a soil rehabilitation agent. A non-native of North America, it is native to Africa, Asia and Europe and has become an invasive species in many states of the United States. Because it is a legume, there would be species of wildflowers that might do well combined with the vetch, such as Castilleja indivisa (entireleaf Indian paintbrush), whose roots go to those of other plants to obtain nutrients. The Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet), being also a legume, fixes nitrogen in the soil on which the Indian paintbrush will draw, so the two wildflowers are frequently seen growing together. However, the downside of the provision of nitrogen in the soil by the vetch is its invasiveness. Being a cool season perennial, while most wildflowers are annuals, it would have a tendency to shade out the sprouting seeds of the wildflowers, and to crowd out the more desirable wildflowers as they try to develop.

If you are trying to establish a wildflower meadow, including the vetch, this would not seem to be very practical. It would be better to first clear the area of the vetch by pulling it out and then seeding the wildflowers in the Fall. The vetch would probably attempt to return, but given a fair start, and with frequent thinning of the vetch, the wildflowers would probably not only make it, but profit from the existence of the nitrogen in the soil provided by the vetch.

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Cutting back annual wildflowers after going to seed
August 16, 2006 - I purchased some wildflower seeds from the center last year, planted them in Nov-Dec and they have done fairly well this year despite our fairly dry winter. My question is now that they are done bloom...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on wildflower meadow gardening
December 08, 2004 - My local elementary school in Decatur, Texas (north central) has an open field of wonderful wildflowers in front of it. This year, they were mowed before the flowers went to seed. What is a good rul...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower field for sewage leach field from Olga Washington
August 01, 2012 - I am interested in planting a large native wildflower field at a resort in the San Juan Islands in Washington State. It would be over a sewage leach field for many cabins and bathrooms. Are there any ...
view the full question and answer

Showy Low Growing Perennial for Michigan
June 03, 2013 - I have been looking for a native perennial that would do well in full sun and moist to dry soil. It would have to be at most 2.5' tall and have showy pink, purple, or red flowers. Is there such a pla...
view the full question and answer

Where and when bloom; will they bloom in artificial light
November 06, 2005 - Do wildflowers grow through out the world, even in desert and Arctic regions? When do they bloom? Will they bloom in artificial light? What is the most interesting fact about wildflowers?
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center