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

Sunday - January 03, 2010

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Fruit trees for Bellville, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Which fruit trees will withstand heat and drought in the Bellville, Texas area?

ANSWER:

Because at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we are limited to plants native to North America, and recommend that they also be native to the area where they are being grown, there are not many fruit trees that would be appropriate to your area.

For instance, Malus domestica, the apple, is native to Central Asia.  Prunus persica, peach, is native to China. Nectarines are a sport of the peach. Citrus sinensis, sweet orange, is native to Southeast Asia. There are 32 members of the genus Prunus, which includes plums, cherries and peaches, that are in our Native Plant Database. Of those, 17 are native to Texas, some are consumable by humans, most are attractive to wildlife. 

From our Native Plant Database: "Warning: The seeds of all Prunus species, found inside the fruits, contain poisonous substances and should never be eaten. POISONOUS PARTS: Wilted leaves, twigs (stems), seeds. Highly Toxic. May be fatal if ingested." Leaves and fruit fallen on the ground and eaten by pets or livestock can be deadly to them, and the material may be allelopathic to garden plants, preventing their development. Only a very few of this genus can be considered landscaping plants, and the edible fruits will be harvested by the birds if they can beat you to them. Most of the Prunus species in Texas tend to develop into low thickets.

Members of the genus Prunus growing natively around Austin County, Texas:

Prunus angustifolia (Chickasaw plum) - valuable to wildlife, ripe fruit can be eaten fresh and made into jellies, desserts

Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry) - attractive to wildlife

Prunus gracilis (Oklahoma plum) - attractive to wildlife

Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum) - single-trunked, non-suckering, showy, fragrant white flowers

Prunus serotina (black cherry) - wild black cherry fruits can be eaten raw or used in jelly, syrup, wine, juice and pies

Prunus serotina var. serotina (black cherry) - pictures from Google

Prunus umbellata (hog plum) - ornamental, accent tree or shrub

Prunus virginiana (chokecherry) - blue-black edible cherries, make good jelly, important to wildlife

If you are more interested in producing a food crop type tree, consult theTexas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Office for Austin County. They usually have lists of suitable food crop trees for their area, not necessarily native.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Prunus angustifolia

Prunus caroliniana

Prunus gracilis

Prunus mexicana

Prunus serotina

Prunus umbellata

Prunus virginiana

 

 

More Trees Questions

Propagation of redbuds from shoots in St. Louis MO
July 17, 2009 - I have a beautiful, healthy old redbud tree that I love. Every year, I find baby redbud trees rooted all over my yard, Since they are deep, I can't seem to dig them out so I simply cut them down to...
view the full question and answer

Trees to replace ones lost in Westchester County, NY
May 09, 2013 - We lost a large number of trees in the forest adjacent to our home, and I plan to replant them. What species do you recommend to plant the area with natives and to keep it looking "natural."
view the full question and answer

Foundation Landscape Tree Suggestion for New Jersey
March 05, 2013 - I need to replace a shrub (boxwood) in a landscaped area directly in front of my house. I would like a tree that grows about 10-15' maximum. However, I have a drainpipe that runs from the house to th...
view the full question and answer

Planting spot for sycamore in Belle Mead NJ
April 19, 2010 - At school we all got a tree. It was a Buttonwood tree, which I know is REALLY big, but my grandma wants to plant it near other trees. Where should I put it? My dad won't let me plant it in the middle...
view the full question and answer

Adventitious sprouts from Live Oak in Dallas
February 26, 2011 - How do I kill Holly growing in my yard? I have a Live Oak tree growing in my Bermuda grass lawn. The holly grows under the tree from the trunk extending out about 12-15 ft. It grows right in with the ...
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