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 - March 22, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflower Center, Shrubs, Trees
Title: When does Ziziphus obtusifolia leaf and flower in Austin?
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Hello Mr. S.P., Do you know when the Texas buckthorn, Ziziphus obtusifolia (I believe), flowers (and leafs out) in Austin? Is there one at the Wildflower Center?


According to our Native Plant Database, Ziziphus obtusifolia (lotebush) flowers yellow or green in March and April. While we found no information on the leafing out time, this article on the plant from the Texas Native Plant Database (Texas A&M) refers to its growing season as being from May through September, so you could assume that the leaves would appear by May, if not sooner. Many plants begin to flower before they leaf out, such as Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud), which is blooming now, in mid-March, in Central Texas. Lotebush is found growing naturally in numerous counties in West and Central Texas, but not in East Texas. From the page on this plant in our Native Plant Database, we extracted this information:

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX


From the Image Gallery

Ziziphus obtusifolia

Ziziphus obtusifolia

Ziziphus obtusifolia

More Shrubs Questions

Pruning of tree poppy from Livermore CA
May 29, 2013 - We have a Dendromecon rigida which has been in place for about 10 years and is doing fine. But the older growth gets dry, brown and crinkly, while the newer growth is bright and lush. I would like t...
view the full question and answer

Moisture as trigger for Cenizo bloom
July 17, 2006 - Does the cenizo bloom because it has had water on its leaves and stems?
view the full question and answer

Flowering and evergreen shrubs for landscape in Indiana
May 29, 2010 - I live in Southern Indiana and we are getting ready to redesign our front landscape. Currently, we have some yews and other shrubs that are unruly and require a lot of pruning and care. My husband hat...
view the full question and answer

Passiflora and Leucophyllum together in Texas
April 23, 2015 - I've got a Passiflora incarnata that has self-propagated around a cenizo sage. My question is, will the passionflower vine choke out or otherwise damage the cenizo? Do I need to cut back the vine? ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with a Cercis (Redbud)
August 25, 2014 - Half of my redbud tree is pooped out looking. On two places on the bark are areas where a few layers of bark have pulled back. In these areas there are white growths.
view the full question and answer

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