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?


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

Monday - October 12, 2009

From: Sapulpa, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Native alternative for Japanese Red Maple in Oklahoma
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Mr. Smarty Plants, I am looking for a native alternative to a Japanese Red Maple. I would like a small tree that I can put in my front garden that will not pose a security risk my being overgrown and too large. We thought the Japanese Red Maple would be nice, because it is a smaller and more contained tree, but I do not want to introduce a non-native plant. PLEASE HELP!


Mr. Smarty Plants can offer several attractive small native trees for Oklahoma as an alternative to Japanese maple.  Here are a few of them:

Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree)

Rhus lanceolata (prairie sumac)

Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud)

Chionanthus virginicus (white fringetree)

Cornus drummondii (roughleaf dogwood)

Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)

Morus rubra (red mulberry)

Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum)

Viburnum rufidulum (rusty blackhaw)

You can do a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database to see other possibilities by choosing Oklahoma from the Select State or Province category and 'Tree' from the Habit (general appearance) category.

Cotinus obovatus

Rhus lanceolata

Cercis canadensis

Chionanthus virginicus

Cornus drummondii

Cornus florida

Morus rubra

Prunus mexicana

Viburnum rufidulum

More Trees Questions

Privacy screening from Phoenix AZ
April 14, 2013 - I live in the center of Phoenix, Az. On the eastern side of my house we have some 2 story condos next door. The width of the side yard is about 12'-15' and it gets lots of shade. I also have my powe...
view the full question and answer

Cherry laurels next to retaining wall in Austin
September 18, 2010 - My neigbors have 2 cherry laurel trees in their back yard planted within 4 feet of my retaining wall and fence. I am worried the root system will damage my retaining wall. The branches are already pus...
view the full question and answer

Desert Willow size question from Austin, TX
June 12, 2015 - Dear MSP, I have a desert willow named Edith. We got her from the CoA a couple of years ago for recycling our Chirstmas tree. She's doing well except her three little trunks are teeny-tiny. We wan...
view the full question and answer

Live Oak Suckers Reprise, Austin TX
July 06, 2014 - Referring to an entry dated March 11, 2011 about Live Oak suckers - what happened to the suckers covered with newspaper and cardboard?
view the full question and answer

Unusual green fruit
August 17, 2009 - Unknown "fruit" in my backyard I have large (softball size) nobbly green orbs finding their way into my backyard. They sort of look like a tennis ball left out in the rain to rot, but they are o...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center