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?


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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - October 10, 2005

From: Baton Rouge, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Native and non-native Wandering Jew and Four o Clocks
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I am looking for information on 2 separate plants in my yard. The names that people have given me on what they are is as follows: Wondering Jew Four O'Clock


There are at least three plants known as Wandering Jew. They are Tradescantia zebrina, T. fluminensis, and T. pallida. Only T. pallida is reported to be native to the U.S. (Louisiana and Florida). The others have been introduced from Central and South America.

There are several plants that have the common name of Four O'Clock. Here are the ones that are native to Louisiana: Mirabilis nyctaginea and M. albida. Since it is in your garden I suspect it is M. jalapa, a native of South America that is sold in nurseries and has now become naturalized over much of the eastern and southwestern U.S. There are several color varieties available from nurseries.

More Non-Natives Questions

Inadvisability of allowing native orchids to cross-breed
May 17, 2006 - Hello LBJ Native plants helper! This is the perfect place for me to ask a question that has been very perplexing to me. I live in Northern California and am doing research for naturalization of the te...
view the full question and answer

Viability of non-native Royal Poinciana in Austin
August 20, 2008 - My question is about the tree called Royal Poinciana that grows so well in the Rio Grande Valley. I realise it isn't a native but hope you have an opinion about its chances of survival in Austin. ...
view the full question and answer

Identity of the mass fields of yellow flowers in North Texas
March 23, 2012 - Are the mass fields of yellow flowers we are seeing in north Texas now likely to be Indian Mustard (brassica juncea) or Charlock (brassica kaber or sinapis arvensis)? We are teaching a wildflower ide...
view the full question and answer

Damage to plants after sudden freeze in Redway CA
January 02, 2010 - I live on the North Coast of California near "The Avenue of the Giants" and Redwoods State Park along the Eel River. We recently have had below freezing weather, constant rain and even snow! I have...
view the full question and answer

Non-native, and/or invasive bermudagrass, St. Augustine and Pistache from Houston
September 24, 2012 - Our St. Augustine lawn died suddenly this summer from either chinch bugs or grub worms (or both?), and a multitude of weeds and native Bermuda have taken over the area. Now that the weather has cooled...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center