Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Wednesday - March 25, 2009

From: Temple, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Flowering perennials beneath Ashe juniper.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Dear Sir: What type of flowering perennial plants will grow underneath Mountain Cedar and its pine needles? Thanks.

ANSWER:

Mountain cedar, more properly known as Juniperus ashei (Ashe's juniper), is quite famous for inhibiting the growth of other plants under its canopy.  By creating heavy shade, drinking up much of the available water and through a type of chemical warfare known as allelopathy, Ashe juniper effectively eliminates most potential competitors beneath its boughs. 

However, there are a few native plant species that have found a niche in just that spot where they find little or no competition other than, of course, from the juniper itself.  Perhaps best known is Salvia roemeriana (cedar sage), a member of the mint family with very showy red flowers.  Cedar sage thrives in the shade of Ashe juniper.  Wedelia texana (hairy wedelia) also grows well there.  Another species that is much less showy, but is attractive in its own way, is Carex planostachys (cedar sedge).  Woody plants that are known to grow under junipers include Arbutus xalapensis (Texas madrone), Garrya ovata ssp. lindheimeri (Lindheimer's silktassel) and Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree).

Although junipers are conifers, they are not closely related to pines and do not produce pine needles.  The leaf litter that accumulates beneath junipers is usually referred to as juniper duff or cedar duff.

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Can bluebonnets be made into jelly from Ennis TX
May 07, 2013 - Are Texas bluebonnet flowers okay for human consumption? I have seen recipes for wild violet jelly,so was wondering about making bluebonnet jelly from the bluebonnet blossoms if they are not poisonous...
view the full question and answer

Reducing Allergens in Yards and Gardens
January 31, 2012 - What are some allergen-free native plants to Central Texas that thrive in the soil and can survive in the weather?
view the full question and answer

Parasitic paintbrush
March 29, 2009 - Many years ago I tried to grow some paintbrush seedlings with some seeds you sent me and found it difficult. Based on pictures in the literature I noticed that paintbrushes do not seem to affect their...
view the full question and answer

Genetically altered bluebonnets?
September 07, 2008 - I am trying to locate where I can purchase what I consider real bluebonnets not the genetic altered ones. The ones I am talking about are completely blue without the white tip on top. Do you have an...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification from Decatur GA
June 14, 2012 - Hi: In early May 2012 we visited the Center--fantastic. There was a large shrub/tree with yellow blooms near a silo. Is it Retama? Also there was a lot of a purple blooming plant in with the conef...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.