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

Will watering before a freeze protect an esperanza from a freeze from San Angelo, TX
November 22, 2013 - Would it help to lightly water esperanza before I cover it prior to freeze and/or sleet?
view the full question and answer

Lantana failing to bloom from Tampa FL
October 04, 2012 - I reside in central Florida. I have planted several lantana the orange,red,yellow type. I don't have proper species name. They have been in the ground 3 weeks with 2" of potting soil around root ba...
view the full question and answer

Container plants for part shade in Bee Cave TX
June 18, 2013 - Dear Mr Smarty Pants, I am looking for plants that will thrive on my covered porch in 3 tall planters. These are meant to help me block an unattractive view out my living room window, so they must...
view the full question and answer

Native plants/shrubs to plant under sycamore and redbud trees
September 03, 2009 - I want to eventually get rid of our front lawn. We have a 40 year old sycamore tree and a young but well established redbud tree in the front yard. What are some good plants/shrubs to plant under the ...
view the full question and answer

Understory Shrubs for Pennsylvania Clay
December 04, 2013 - I want to replace three non-native Euonymus alatus with native shrubs that will serve as host plants for butterfly/moth species and/or attract bumblebees and other native bees. The shrubs I have are ...
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