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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - September 03, 2009

From: St Petersburg, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Does NPIN include non-native plant species?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I'm writing a book on the plants eaten by 12th century Indians of Florida. I'd like to use your site for some of my research. You say all of your plants are native, but then under some listings (wild garlic) you say the plant is native to Europe. Which is it? Were all of your listings growing here in the 12th century?

ANSWER:

Thank you for alerting us to the misleading wording of our NPIN entry for Allium canadense (meadow garlic).  The sentence you referenced was discussing the closely related European species, Allium vineale.  The entry also discussed another non-native species, Allium ampeloprasum.  To avoid further confusion, we have stricken our discussion of the non-natives from the web page for Allium canadense.

There should be no non-native (outside North America) plant species included in the NPIN database.  Some entries, like the one you read, may include some discussion of non-naitve species, but that would be very unusual.  The native origins of a few species are in dispute among botanists.  We make decisions on a case by case basis for those exceptions based on the best evidence available.

We do not have a definitive answer for your final question.  Most questions of nativity date to the time of arrival of Europeans to North America some 300 to 400 years after the period of time you're researching.  We know that Native Americans traded and spread edible plants among tribes and over large areas, but our information is not nearly so exact to say whether or not certain species occurred in Florida in the 12th century.  Unfortunately, none of the North American indiginous peoples kept written records.

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Dying non-native red tip photinias in Lexington NC
June 27, 2009 - Large Red Tip bushes, what can I do to keep them alive? I have a few and they are dying. What can I do to save them?
view the full question and answer

Growing a non-native lemon tree in Central Illinois
August 03, 2009 - How to grow a lemon tree in Central Illinois? Which one would be the best to grow?
view the full question and answer

Evergreen non-native herbs for Bastrop TX
August 26, 2010 - I'm looking for evergreen herbs for Bastrop Texas. I planted an herb garden in the spring of 2009, but mostly all of them died in the winter. Rosemary, Tarragon and Sage made it. thank you!
view the full question and answer

Problems with yellow lantana in Smoaks SC
June 05, 2010 - My yellow lantanas are about five years old - big and beautiful, but beginning last year, the blooms are small and part of the tiny petals are brown or black. Can you tell me what I can do about this ...
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming climbing rose in Conroe, TX
October 09, 2009 - I have a climbing rose and it has never bloomed and has no thorns, it was a cutting from another rose bush. I have given it water and fertilize and have mulch around it also.
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