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?


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 - February 25, 2009

From: Taylor, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Coloration problems with non-native nandinas and queens wreath in Taylor, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


This year my nandinas are extremely red and my queen's wreath blossoms deepened in color before the first freeze browned them out. What would cause this? Thank you.


Nandina domestica is a suckering shrub in the Berberidaceae (Barberry) family that is a native of China and Japan, and therefore not in our range of expertise at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. It is, in fact, considered an invasive species, especially in the South. This Floridata site, Nandina domestica, can give you more information but also advises that it is considered a Class I invasive species by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. We understand that some cultivars turn that bright red in the Fall, and that it is considered normal.

Petrea volubilis (Queen's wreath) is also non-native to North America and therefore we have no information on it in our Native Plant Database.  It is a tropical which originated in the Caribbean, and probably grows best in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 to 11. Williamson County is approximately Zones 8a to 8b, and that may have caused the problem with your plant. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. Native plants will be accustomed to the climate, rainfall and temperatures of that area and will need less water, fertilizer and maintenance. 


More Non-Natives Questions

Problems with non-native, invasive Japanese Privet from Peoria AZ
July 31, 2013 - I have Japanese Privit bushes. one out of 6 has started to grow very small leaves and does not look healthy. Moon Valley told me shortage of zinc, but that has not helped in 3 months. What can I ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native peanutbutter tree suckering in Oregon City OR
August 02, 2011 - I have a beautiful 'peanutbutter tree' in my yard. I have noted that there are plantlets coming up that appear to be attached to the main root(s) of the tree. I have been breaking them off as I don...
view the full question and answer

Information about non-native tung tree
November 20, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a tree growing in my yard in North Austin which I can't identify. I have been told it is a 'tong' or 'tung' tree but can't find it in any reference books. It is de...
view the full question and answer

Use of non-native Indian Mustard for reducing lead in soil
February 07, 2007 - The EPA phytoremediation documents say lead contamination can be reduced with Brassica juncea: "Successful Reduction of Lead Contamination. Phytoextraction was demonstrated at a site in Tren...
view the full question and answer

Swarming insects on non-native willow in Washington PA
September 25, 2011 - I have had a very large, beautiful pillow willow bush/tree growing next to our garage for about 8 years. Last year at the end of August, it began to attract white-faced hornets and yellow jackets by t...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center