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
1 rating

Saturday - September 26, 2009

From: Beaumont, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native Empress trees in Beaumont TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I want to grow some Empress Trees in our yard. We have a huge yard and it is right on the corner of a cross street where they have just put a traffic light. People stopped at the light can see into our house. I understand they are invasive, without really knowing what that means. Please explain. I tried to find the information on the Texas Park and Wildlife website. I do not even know who to find out the information from.

ANSWER:

Paulownia tomentosa has several common names, including Empress Tree, Princess Tree and "Oh, no, not that." Please read this Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group Least Wanted site on the reasons why this tree is totally inappropriate for planting anywhere in North America. You didn't find it on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website because it is so invasive, and can damage ecologies in many ways. And you won't find it on our website, either. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use, care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which it is being grown. Introduced to the United States in 1840 as an ornamental plant, it is native to western and central China.

If you want more information on why NOT to grow this plant, go to this USDA National Invasive Species Information Center. There are a number more links on that site; you will soon learn that nobody, including people who unknowlingly planted it or unwillingly had it invade their property, likes this plant except the industry trying to sell it. You and anyone else not knowing what an invasive plant is should read this About.com: Landscaping Invasive Plants.

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Want to Grow Herbs in Pots on Balcony
November 26, 2011 - Nov. 20, 2011 I live in a large apartment with a front balcony. I was wondering what would grow well in pots and fresh herb this time of the year? And will lavendar work for a hanging plant as well...
view the full question and answer

Controlling pumpkin vine in British Columbia
July 15, 2008 - I have never grown pumpkins before but decided to try one plant this year. It seems to be taking over my small garden space. Can I prune it back? I only want one or two pumpkins for my grandchildre...
view the full question and answer

Doodlebugs in dead area of Coral Bean from Houston
April 10, 2013 - I have a Firemans coralbean tree about 5 years old. I discovered yesterday in the middle of the tree there is some deadwood where we have pruned out branches. A couple of the branches were filled with...
view the full question and answer

Non-native banana trees
June 06, 2008 - I recently planted two types of Banana trees, a Darjeeling and a Giant Nepal. I know that both are hardy to my zone 7 but that the Nepal needed heavy mulching. My first question is how long will it ta...
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant in Kentucky with fuzzy grayish-green leaves
September 03, 2012 - I would like to know about a plant that I do not know what it is. I had this plant just come up in my flowerbed, that looked like a tobacco plant but the leaves looked like a lambs ear plant. It was ...
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