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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - May 19, 2009

From: Mozambique, Other
Region: Other
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Controlling Thermopsis rhombifolia (buffalo bean) in Mozambique
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Mark Simmons

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty, Please,can you assist. We have a plot on a dam in Mozambique. It has been invaded with Thermopsis rhombifolia (we call it buffalo bean), it is very hardy and if you fall in it or just touch it, it is very itchy and sore. We would like to try and destroy a lot, but need to know how we can do it and what we can use, without destroying any of the water weeds, etc., in case what we use runs into the dam.

ANSWER:

Thermopsis rhombifolia (prairie thermopsis), a native of Canada and and the Great Plains area of the US, is a legume—member of the Family Fabaceae (Pea/bean family). For selective treatment a legume-specific herbicide with the active ingredient clopyralid (e.g. Transline) might be the best bet. Alternatively, if you're up to experimentation, prescribed fire could be tested, although spring fire has been demonstrated to encourage this species on trails in Canada.  Using fire at different times of years has been shown to differentially affect species.

Thermopsis rhombifolia

Thermopsis rhombifolia

 

 

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