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

Friday - October 16, 2009

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Why isn't Lantana camara in NPIN?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Why don't you have Lantana camara in your data base? It is very common here, and is in the USDA database.

ANSWER:

You're right; Lantana camara is very common in the Houston area and across the southern part of the US.  A listing in USDA Plants does not indicate nativity, however. Other plants, also common in your area, including Johnsongrass (Sorghum halapense), Chinese tallow (Triadica sebifera)  and Giant salvinia (Salvinia molesta)  are all listed in the USDA Plants database.  
 
In addition to appearing in USDA Plants, all of these species have another common characteristic - they're all invasive species in Texas. While Lantana camara is not included on the list of Texas Noxious Weeds
, it is very definitely a problem weed here.  In other areas of the world, notably in Africa and Australia, Lantana camara - a native of the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and northern South America - is an ecological disaster.  Australia and affected African countries allocate vast resources in a largely losing effort to fight this species.  
 
Except in the species’ native range, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is firmly and unabashedly anti-Lantana camara.  We actively discourage gardeners and land managers from planting it, maintaining it or even allowing it to exist on their lands.
 
USDA Plants designates near the top of the web page whether or not a species is native under the heading, “Native Status:
. “L48 I” means the species is introduced in the lower 48 states of the US.
 
The NPIN database includes only species native to North America (excluding Mexico).
 
Fortunately, here in Texas we have a very fine and lovely native alternative to Lantana camara and the other non-native lantanas.  Texas lantana (Lantana urticoides)
 is native to pretty much the same areas of the US that Lantana camara has invaded and is every bit as attractive and has virtually identical growth habit.  However, it is not nearly so pernicious in other parts of the world.
 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Pruning of non-native Senna bicapsularis from Ocean Springs MS
April 04, 2013 - I have 4 Senna plants (cassia bicapsularis) that I planted late last spring. They about 3-4 feet tall but are very gangly with leaves at or near the tips only. How should I prune them to encourage g...
view the full question and answer

Removal of invasive mints
March 30, 2005 - How do I remove common mint from my garden? I removed the previous years plants and tilled the soil. This year they came back more than before.
view the full question and answer

Native turf grass for Austin
March 24, 2014 - I am installing a xeriscape landscape in my yard. It will be in full sun and I am looking for an alternative to turf, such as monkey grass. However, I am concerned about the light. Suggestions?
view the full question and answer

What is meant when Mimosa Tree is described as an invasive tree in San Antonio TX?
May 14, 2013 - When it is stated that the Mimosa Tree is invasive, does that mean that the Roots are invasive or does it mean that the seed pods will drop and make many more trees ?
view the full question and answer

Care for indoor ivy from Carollton TX
January 26, 2012 - I have an indoor ivy that is on a pole. The pole is breaking, and I need to separate the ivy from the pole with the least amount of trauma to the plant. How should I do this? Thanks!
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