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?

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
1 rating

Saturday - March 28, 2009

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: Appearance of Viola lanceolota after controlled burn
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Oh Great Green Guru, I just recently found Viola lanceolota (bog white violet) on a portion of Brazos Bend State Park’s prairie that was burned about 2 months ago to control for woody growth. (I wouldn’t have been able to identify this violet without your incomparable Native Plants Database—thanks!) I haven’t seen this violet in the park before—has it just been hidden by the tall grasses of the prairie, or did it come up because the burn removed the other growth? Will we find it in the tall grasses next year, when the prairie has regrown? And where can I find out more about how prairies recover from a burn (specifically, the order in which plants return)? Thanks for all your help.

ANSWER:

Thanks for the nice words-we love our Native Plant Database, too. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has an active Fire Ecology program. Although we presently are concentrating on the Hill Country around the Center, nevertheless the same principles apply. There are several more links to articles and information in that Fire Ecology section that you might want to follow up.

We found a really neat site with the state of Texas broken up into wildlife districts, and looked at the Oak-Prairie Wildlife District, which includes Ft. Bend County. This, in turn, gave us links to the local wildlife biologists or district supervisors for these areas, with phone numbers. There is a Wildlife Biologist in Rosenberg, who should be knowledgeable about that particular burn, and could perhaps direct you to information on the speed with which the prairie returns from a controlled burn. 

In terms of whether the  Viola lanceolata (bog white violet) was already there before the burn, we're guessing that it probably was. It could have been hidden by the tall grasses, or seeds could have been dormant in the soil. The burnoff of the taller material around the area permitted sun and moisture to get to the soil where the plant or the seeds were hiding, and they came up. The reason we think the plant was already there is we looked at the USDA plant distribution by Texas county of Viola lanceolata (bog white violet) and found that, at the time that survey was made, the plant was either already growing in Fort Bend County or in areas near enough that it had spread there. It's hard to tell which county is which on those USDA maps, but the plant was either growing in Ft. Bend County or really close. 

We realize we didn't fully answer all your questions, as Fire Ecology is a specialty a little out of our usual line, but we hope we gave you some leads and information that will help you find out all the answers.


Viola lanceolata

Viola lanceolata

 

 

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Ground cover for shade from Atlanta GA
May 28, 2012 - I am looking for recommendations for a ground cover. I live in the Atlanta, Georgia area and have a large shady slope on which I would like to use low maintenance/water native ground cover. What wou...
view the full question and answer

Caterpillars devouring Blue Wild Indigo in Jesup GA
September 05, 2011 - I have a false blue indigo growing in my garden. Every spring it gets defoliated by Genista moth caterpillars. It usually doesn't put out new growth until the next spring. This summer, it has put ...
view the full question and answer

Need plants to grow between flagstones in Vista, CA.
February 06, 2012 - Hi, I have put in a flagstone patio set in DG. The DG is creating a very sandy messy surface on the flagstone, so want to plant a low ground cover between the joints. Its a fairly large area, in sun...
view the full question and answer

Plants to compliment pine trees in Ohio
May 13, 2009 - We just moved into a new home, the backyard has a above ground island with 5 pine trees (fairly young ones, not big) between the trees are some piney looking shrubs, there is a lot of open space on th...
view the full question and answer

Plants for soil with basalt outcroppings in Idaho
March 30, 2008 - We have basalt (lava) outcropping in part of our back yard and know we'll have to search for pockets of soil in which to plant. Any suggestions about what trees or shrubs would have a chance in thes...
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