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
2 ratings

Wednesday - April 29, 2009

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: What is the scoop on dwarf cedar elms?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Several years ago, I purchased a small plant from a San Antonio wholesaler that was identified as a "Dwarf Cedar Elm." My brother had also purchased a few from there. No one there knows anything about them. I have never seen it anywhere else or found any other references to it anywhere. The leaf is very small and looks just like a cedar elm leaf (i.e. Ulmus crassifolia). When mature, the tree will get to be about 12 feet tall. It has many cedar elm characteristics, only smaller. Have you ever heard of this? Is it considered a native? Thanks

ANSWER:

Many plant species will occasionally produce dwarf individuals.  Clever horticulturists recognize the market potential of naturally dwarfed plants and collect, asexually propagate, and introduce these unusual specimens to the nursery trade.  Some cultivars, like dwarf yaupon, Ilex vomitoria become mainstays of landscape design.  Others, may not.  Some dwarf plants are not especially attractive, Some lose their dwarf characteristics over time and "grow out of" their diminutive stature.  Some are inordinately difficult to propagate and thus, fall from favor with nurserymen.  Finally, some may be more susceptible to diseases than their full-size counterparts.

We have heard of nurseries offering dwarf cedar elms, Ulmus crassifolia from time to time, though we have never actually seen any of the plants.  However, we are a little skeptical about their horticultural value since they don't seem to remain on the market very long.  All of this to say we just don't know much about them.

Another dwarf elm is a non-native hybrid, Ulmus x hollandica 'Jacqueline Hillier'.  It is possible, though not so likely, that it has been marketed as a dwarf cedar elm.

 

More Trees Questions

Is Texas Mountain Laurel Honey Toxic in Fulshear, TX?
March 11, 2012 - Toxicity of Texas Mountain Laurel HONEY I know the seeds and leaves of the Tx Mountain Laurel are toxic. But, is honey that comes from the Mountain Laurel toxic too? I heard that it is, but can'...
view the full question and answer

Need advice for pruning a young Bur Oak tree in Austin, TX.
November 02, 2010 - I grew a beautiful bur oak from seed, and three years later it is now taller than I am. I hate to cut anything off this tree and hurt it, but there are two branches that are rubbing together and growi...
view the full question and answer

Problems with transplanted Texas Madrones from Junction TX
May 13, 2014 - We planted 3 little Texas madrones last year 9 - 12 inches high. 2 of them seem to have some kind of black blight along the edges of the leaves that I don't think was the result of our late freezes. ...
view the full question and answer

Growing a Swamp Oak from Seed
July 02, 2014 - I have a swamp oak that I started from an acorn. Someone at a nursery stated that after 4 years I should cut it off at ground level and then allow one of the suckers to grow while keep removing the ot...
view the full question and answer

Identifying Rhus lanceolata in Texas
April 28, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I think I've identified two small trees, 4 to 5 feet high at the back fence line and two in the front yard flower beds as prairie flameleaf sumac (or at least some kind of s...
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