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?

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
2 ratings

Friday - July 17, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Is Jerusalem thorn native to Central Texas?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I was reading about Retama (Parkinsonia aculeata) which is native to South America and naturalized throughout Texas and the southern US. I also read that it is considered an invasive plant species in Australia and has spread aggressively there. Is Parkinsonia aculeata now considered native, adapted, or invasive to Central Texas?

ANSWER:

Jerusalem thorn is an evergreen tree, growiing to 12 to 36 ft. tall, blooms yellow April to August, has medium water use, needs sun or part shade. It is subject to freeze damage if grown too far north, even as far as North Texas. 

This USDA Plant Profile shows the plant growing in some parts of South and Central Texas and the Big Bend area. It is native to the Southwestern United States and Mexico. It has escaped cultivation in Florida and California, both magnets for invasive plants, native or non-native, and it is regarded there as an invasive weed. 

in answer to your question. a native plant is just that, its status doesn't change, as long as it is growing in the area where it is native. So, yes, it's native to Central Texas. So far as we know, it has not become invasive in Central Texas. Native plants seldom do become invasive in their home territory, as they and the other native plants around them have all learned to live in the environment over eons of experience with the soil, climate, rainfall, etc. That environment has its own checks and balances, and human intervention, bringing in non-native plants or through urban development, frequently causes the development of invasive plants and, sometimes, the near-extinction of native plants. 


Parkinsonia aculeata

Parkinsonia aculeata

Parkinsonia aculeata

Parkinsonia aculeata

 

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Invasiveness of Cosmos from Decatur GA
April 26, 2013 - I have been searching for an answer concerning the invasive plant Cosmos. I know that Florida declares this but I have not been able to find out does Georgia? And specifically,is it only the yellow Co...
view the full question and answer

Are agaves really native from Pacific Palisades CA
April 30, 2013 - I just replied re agave issues, and mistakenly asked the source of your information. I see that you clearly noted it, apologies. I would note, however, that the Riverside area is very much a hot,...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating a briar vine in American holly
July 22, 2011 - I have a wild vine (I was told it is a type of briar) living on my place. The root nest is like a potato. I have dug them up, I have sprayed them and I still am plagued with them. I have a beautiful A...
view the full question and answer

How to Get Rid of Spike Rush in Raised Beds in Galveston
March 16, 2011 - I have an infestation of spike rush in my raised beds and I want to know how to get rid of it, preferably without killing the insects. I have tried digging it up, but it returns. I live on Galveston B...
view the full question and answer

Most invasive, noxious plant in U.S. from New York City.
November 26, 2012 - I was wondering, what is the most invasive/ noxious plant in the U.S? Thanks in advance.
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center