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

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
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

Plants for a Shaded Slope in Philadelphia
April 17, 2015 - I have a small slope along the North side of my house in a suburb of Philadelphia. A small maple tree grows there but most of it gets no sun at all (a large segment is under the tree). I had the soil ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native petunias from Hodgeville, KY
May 12, 2013 - Planting petunias again in a house border bed.. It has been a tradition for 30+ years to plant the small upright petunias in this particular bed. It started as a Mothers Day gift to my Grandmother, ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen plant to cover parents' graves in Louisiana
June 30, 2013 - We want to plant ground cover on our parents graves in Plain Dealing Cemetery in north Bossier Parish LA. Soil is red clay/dirt. Want native plant, slow growing, short not tall plant, that might sta...
view the full question and answer

Lily plants being chewed from Austin
June 20, 2013 - Something is chewing my lily plants to the ground. Any ideas what and do I stop them?
view the full question and answer

Native perennial winter plants for Waco, TX
November 03, 2004 - I live in the Waco area, and would like to know winter plants that I could use that would come back each year, flowering or otherwise.
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center