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
1 rating

Monday - July 20, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seasonal Tasks
Title: Rainfall for Central Texas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What dance will produce abundant rainfall in Central Texas?

ANSWER:

While, strictly speaking, this falls out of the range of our expertise at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, it nevertheless is of concern that the native plants (and everybody else) are drying up and desperately needing a little wet help. We have searched for rain dances in arid areas, which we are right now, and found the following, with instructions and costume:

Rain Dance of Zuni Pueblo - conducted on August 19th at Zuni Pueblo. Possibly you could contact them and inquire if they could include a few steps for Central Texas?

About the Indian Rain Dance - from EHow, by Ann Johnson

From a YouTube video on the Indian Rain Dance, we also picked up this unattributed quotation:

"The rain dances were never done to bring rain. The Native American Indians were so in touch with nature and the planet that they could feel the energy brewing before rain storms; therefore, they would celebrate the coming of the rains with dance and singing."

Along these same lines, we were recently asked about the folklore that the blooming of Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) is forecasting possible rains, as the Cenizo is blooming abundantly in Austin right now. Quoting from that answer:

"We had heard the same tale that blooming on a Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) was a predictor of rain; however, our observation was that they were much more likely to bloom AFTER a rain, rather than before. We searched around for someone more expert than we are to tell us the truth. The consensus is that this flowering is triggered by high humidity or soil moisture after it rains. If there is a lot of humidity in the air, even if it hasn't rained yet, that can cause blooming too. This plant can bloom intermittently 12 months of the year, and is really a tough desert plant. Apparently, there has been a lot of humidity in the Austin area lately, although who could believe it, with the heat?  So, does all the blooming around Austin (and we have noticed it, too) portend rain? We can only hope." So, maybe the Indians are on to something: the Rain Dance is not a cause, it is an effect. 

Finally, out of the mouths of babes: Here is How To Do a Rain Dance from the students at the Middleton Cross Plains (Wisconsin) school district. Two of the links no longer work, but the instructions are very specific.

 

 

More Seasonal Tasks Questions

Cutting back perennials from Austin
February 08, 2011 - When is it time to cut back native plants; salvia;copper canyon daisy; verbena, etc?
view the full question and answer

Toxicity of horticultural oils
July 20, 2007 - Is T&S dormant oil spray a toxic product? Our church (Prairie Creek Baptist in Plano, Texas) is transitioning to organic/native landscape. This is the product used by the current lawn service. Also, ...
view the full question and answer

Deadheading Mexican hat to produce more blooms in Austin
July 05, 2010 - I have several Mexican hat (rudbeckia) plants growing wild in my yard. Would deadheading now give them a second flush of bloom in fall?
view the full question and answer

Wildseed Planting in a drought
September 14, 2011 - Due to the extreme drought and no rain in the near future in central Texas would it be prudent to have a wildseed planting in October?
view the full question and answer

Planning garden tasks in advance from Austin
January 03, 2012 - My yard was a disaster last year-grass and trees browning, early leaf fall on flowering plants, and water bills sky high, even with the limited watering days. What can I do this year to prevent this s...
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