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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - January 13, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Cold tolerance of Anacacho Orchid Tree (Bauhinia lunarioides)
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in Austin, and I'm considering planting an Anacacho Orchid Tree. How cold tolerant is it? Would the tree have been damaged in the recent 18 degree temperatures we experienced?

ANSWER:

According to the University of Texas at El Paso Chihuahuan Desert Plants database, Bauhinia lunarioides (Anacacho orchid tree) is hardy down to 15 degrees F.  The temperature on Jan. 9, 2010 at Bergstrom International Airport in Austin was 9 degrees F. and at Camp Mabry it was 17 degrees.  These were both record lows for the day and, in general, it is very unusual for the temperature to reach so low in Austin.  It remains to be seen if the local Anacacho orchid trees were hurt.  There are two in the general area of Camp Mabry that we've observed—one is about 5 feet tall and it's leaves have all turned brown (the leaves of the Anacacho orchid tree are somewhat persistent, although the tree is deciduous).  The other tree that is probably 7 or 8 feet tall still had some leaves that appeared undamaged although many of its leaves had also turned brown.  The ones at the Wildflower Center had freeze damage to their leaves, but otherwise the trees appear to be fine.

So, the jury is still out.  Our sense of it is that we will probably see some damage to the trees depending on local conditions, but most will survive just fine. Check back with us in April and we can give you an assessment of how these particular trees mentioned above are doing.

 

More Trees Questions

Caterpillars ate my Sophora in La Mesa, CA.
July 06, 2011 - Before I noticed what was happening, my newly-planted 1 foot tall Sophora secundiflora was eaten by caterpillars. It now has no foliage. Do you think it will leaf out again?
view the full question and answer

Living fence of native plants in Central Texas
December 14, 2008 - I would like to plant a living fence around my property in central Texas. What trees/plants will survive the Texas weather best without taking years to provide visual shield?
view the full question and answer

Pinus taeda (Loblolly pines) for a property in Van Zandt County, Texas
March 17, 2015 - I want to initiate a stand of loblolly pine trees on our property in Van Zandt County in NE Texas. Assuming the ph factor is within range, how do I obtain seedings for this endeavor? Any other advic...
view the full question and answer

Lopidea on Texas Mountain Laurel from Austin
April 16, 2012 - How do I get rid of the Lopidea ALL OVER my Texas Laurels and boring into the seed pods?
view the full question and answer

Puppy-friendly privacy screen in Montana
November 02, 2012 - I need some puppy-friendly short(< 30') privacy from the gigantic windows of my next door neighbor. But- there are power lines above the area that I needed to plant! I had planned on an aspen grove, ...
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