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
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

Source for non-native, invasive Winter Honeysuckle from Austin
April 24, 2013 - Seeing Lonicera abiflora today reminds me of the "winter honeysuckle" my grandfather grew in San Antonio from 1920s or so through the 1950's. It was a bush with stiff upright stems and bloomed cre...
view the full question and answer

Information about invasive Paulownia tree
September 22, 2008 - What genus and species and family is this Royal Paulownia tree I hear about? Is it Elm? Linden? Dogwood? Is it a weed? thank you
view the full question and answer

Butterflies attracted by Pink Evening Primrose from Burnet TX
July 30, 2012 - I see information on Pink Evening Primrose that says it attracts 'many butterflies' Please tell me which butterflies and name them? I've looked everywhere and am just exhausted and frustrated with...
view the full question and answer

Inadvisability of importing plants from one region to another
March 03, 2006 - I wonder if you could help me. I want to send my friends some conifer trees from England to Florida USA. I went on the Department of Agriculture site and they recommended your site for questions. Than...
view the full question and answer

How Can I Tell an Invasive Thistle from a Native
May 01, 2012 - Mr Smarty Plants, I have some thistles coming up in my yard. I'd like to keep them if they are native, but not if they are invasive or non-native. How can I tell? My yard is a wild area in West Lak...
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