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?


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 - March 25, 2009

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


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


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

Wildflower seed for west central Texas acreage
June 06, 2005 - We have a ranch in central Texas between Brownwood and Brady and want to plant wildflowers that will grow in that area. We'd like to cover acreage and need information on what mix would suit our are...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for Area Around Drainage Pond in Georgia
March 21, 2010 - We have a drainage pond behind our business in Albany, Georgia and would like to plant about an acre of wildflowers around it to help with soil erosion and to help keep weeds from taking over again, w...
view the full question and answer

Life cycle of Big Bend bluebonnet from Rosanky TX
April 29, 2010 - I have searched and searched and need to find the life cycle of a Big Bend Bluebonnet for a school project, but have been unable to find it. If there is a website that would have this information, ple...
view the full question and answer

Planting wildflowers from Wichita Falls, TX
August 24, 2013 - Hi, Thanks so much for the answers you give! You've been very helpful to me in the past. I have two quick questions: 1) I have been harvesting seeds from my wildflowers. I wonder when the best time...
view the full question and answer

Best date for spring bluebonnet blooms for 2015
January 31, 2015 - What is the estimated date range for the best bluebonnet viewing in the Hill Country this year (2015). I have guests from the north planning a visit and we'd like to pick a weekend with great possibi...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center