En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - December 10, 2008

From: Arabian Gulf,
Region: Other
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Epiphytic or halophytic trees and shrubs
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Hello I was searching on this issue, but couldn't find what I really want, and I would be great full for your assistance. Please could you help me to find the scientific name for the "Trees" or "plants" (not Epiphytes) that can grow in a place that have high humidity percentage during the whole year, (about 60% to 85% some times more), but in the same time it has very week silty dry soil with saline underground water. I know about the "Epiphytes". But from my reading I found that they are small plants and needs another host like trees to grow over them. However, they produce their food independently. But what I'm looking for is a kind of real independent tree or shrub that can grow and get its needs from the air humidity. What about "Zizyphus Spina Christi"? I appreciate your help. And hope you nice day :)

ANSWER:

We think you're looking for halophytes (salt-tolerant plants) rather than epiphytes.  You are right that epiphytes derive most, if not all, of their nutrition and water from the air rather than through the roots.  The roots of epiphytic plants are often of use solely as anchors to hold the plants to some substrate such as the branch of a tree or a rock.  We know of no trees or shrubs that derive all of their water from the atmosphere in the conditions you describe.  However, there are some rain forest ephiphytic trees, strangler fig (various species) being a good example.

You do not say exactly where you're located other than to say that you're on the Arabian Gulf.  However, the environmental conditions you describe are not all that unusual in many parts of the world.  Since the extent of our research and the limits of our expertise are limited to those plants native to North America, we really don't think we can give you more specific recommendations.  We do not have sufficient information to give you an opinion about the adaptability of Sisyphus spina-cristi to the conditions you describe.

Our general advice, though, would be to look for plants already growing in or on the periphery of the area about which you're concerned since these plants will be best adapted to the growing conditions in that place.

A University of Karachi organization, The Institute for Sustainable Halophyte Utilization, might be of some help to you.

 

More Shrubs Questions

Plants for a school garden in College Station TX
July 20, 2011 - I need to plant some things in my school garden. Green plants and plants with some color. Hardly ever rains here. Please give suggestions.
view the full question and answer

Covering dead arborvitae with non-native ivy from Niles MI
April 14, 2013 - I have a severely thinning arborvitae hedge. It is probably too shady, but I want the privacy. I'm thinking of planting something like ivy to fill the gaps. I know it will probably kill the hedge, bu...
view the full question and answer

Smoky Mountains Shaded Slope Plant Suggestions
April 29, 2013 - We live in a very shady spot in Great Smoky Mountains in Western North Carolina. We would like to plant vegetation on a sloped area behind our cottage to stop erosion after building an addition. Our h...
view the full question and answer

Squirrels eating seed pods of Rock Rose in Austin
June 24, 2011 - Squirrel(s) have been ripping the branches off my rock rose bushes in order to eat the seed pods. Previously we had problems with squirrel(s) gnawing on our garden ornaments. I sprayed the ornaments ...
view the full question and answer

Chlorotic Texas Mountain Laurel in Benson, Arizona
May 04, 2014 - I've planted a Texas Mountain Laurel in heavy clay soil in Arizona. It's been in place for 3 years and flowers each spring. However it's leaves are a shade of medium, yellowish green nothing like t...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center