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

Plectranthus (native of South Africa) winter care and insects
September 26, 2007 - I was recently given a beautiful plant which is now in a pot in my yard. I live in Rochester, NY and need to know what to do with this plant in the fall. The plant is 'Mona Lavender' Plectranthus p...
view the full question and answer

Care for a non-native Syringa vulgaris (lilac)
February 19, 2008 - I inherited a lilac bush when I bought my house. It grows in a bed right in front of the house but grows away from the house, not in a straight up and down manner. This winter we had a 12" snow fall ...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in non-native crape myrtle from Wesley Chapel, FL
June 12, 2012 - I just bought a 12 ft. crape myrtle and planted it, giving it plenty of water I think. After 3 days the leaves are wilting and flowers are falling off.
view the full question and answer

Infestation of flies around euonymus in summer
March 02, 2008 - I have 3 shrubs planted in my backyard. I think they are a type of euonymus (but I'm not sure). My question is why do they attract huge nasty flies. The first year we had them they didn't. But the l...
view the full question and answer

Weed prevention in vegetable gardens
September 26, 2007 - Mr.Smarty Plants - I know this isn't your area, but we have a vegetable garden that has been plagued by summertime weeds. Do you have a recommendation for a control plan we could implement during t...
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