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

Friday - October 16, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Best of Smarty, Non-Natives
Title: Is common yarrow a Texas native?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Is common yarrow Achillea millefolium a Texas native? Please enlighten me.

ANSWER:

The answer to your question is yes ... and possibly, no.  Confused?  You're not alone.  The question of the nativity of Achillea millefolium (common yarrow) is a toughie.  The crux of the problem is how yarrow is classified taxonomically.  If you don't recognize any botanical varieties within the species then the answer is simple; yes, it's native to Texas as well as nearly all of North America, Europe, most of Asia, the Indian sub-continent, and even part of Mesoamerica.  In other words, it's a cosmopolitan species.

However, some taxonomic authorities recognize two or more botanical varieties.  Our authority, The USDA Plants Database (based on the Synthesis of North American Flora), recognizes 12 botanical varieties (not all native) as occuring in North America.  One botanical variety, Achillea millefolium var. occidentalis (western yarrow) was growing in Texas at the time of the arrival of the Europeans and thus is considered native to Texas.  Many garden varieties of Achillea millefolium are progeny of Old World botanical varieties and are not native to Texas or North America.

There are good arguments to be made for recognizing no varieties (lumping) and also for recognizing botanical varieties (splitting).  Because, by policy, we follow the lead of our taxonomic authority the decision is made for us.  In this case we recognize one botanical variety of common yarrow as a Texas native.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Yellowing leaves on weeping willow
August 03, 2008 - We have a 4 year old Weeping Willow, 12+/- ft. tall and this week the leaves are starting to become yellow. This willow is full and robust in appearance, best it's ever looked. We have 2 other Wee...
view the full question and answer

Problems in non- native weeping willow in Spokane WA
June 21, 2010 - My wife and I have a weeping willow tree that has done well for two years. This year some of the branches are loosing their leaves in late spring in Spokane, WA. I though it was from the wind but ha...
view the full question and answer

Salvia that needs dividing in Maryville MO
April 09, 2010 - I have some May Night salvia that is 3 years old. Last summer it split in the middle and spent a lot of the summer laid open. I'm wondering if it needs to be split or pruned in some way?
view the full question and answer

Identification of yellow fruit with many fingers
December 24, 2012 - This is a yellow lemon smelling fruit with many fingers. Yellow in color. Looks like an octopus.
view the full question and answer

Non-native chocolate mimosa in Levittown NY
August 09, 2010 - I purchased about 2 ft chocolate mimosa tree in early June of this year from a local nursery located in Nassau County, New York. It was doing in our Long Island soil just fine for over a month, I woul...
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