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?


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


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


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

Source for mulberry trees from Bryan TX
February 24, 2013 - I am looking for suggestions for nurseries from which I could purchase Red Mulberry or Texas Mulberry Tree.
view the full question and answer

Can I move my Dwarf Orange tree from California to Florida?
April 12, 2012 - I am moving from California to Florida and have a small dwarf orange tree. Can I bring it with me to Florida? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Controlling seeding of non- native, invasive Paulownia from Fayetteville TN
August 17, 2012 - My husband planted a Paulownia tree against my advice about eight years ago. This summer it has huge seed pods. How do I keep the seeds from invading the wooded area of our property?
view the full question and answer

Magnolia species are allelopathic
August 02, 2014 - Have a healthy Southern Magnolia tree around 8 years old. It seems like everything I plant next to it dies.: Variegated Spirea, Stokes Aster, Hydrangeas. Is there something it secretes like the waln...
view the full question and answer

Danger of oak wilt infestation in trees with storm-damaged limbs
June 15, 2007 - A recent severe storm in Southwest Austin broke large branches and trunks on many Live Oaks in my neighborhood, including my next door neighbors'. Can this invite Oak Wilt? I'm worried about my tree...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center