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
2 ratings

Wednesday - April 07, 2010

From: Dripping Springs, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: How to deal with wild verbena.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Hello. I have a great 9 acres of black dirt in Dripping Springs! However now that I have cleared cedar, and then w/the great rains came...I am being taken over by wild verbena. (purple)..looks like wild verbena. I have always heard it called that. Any suggestions other than hand pulling?

ANSWER:

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Dakota mock vervain) or Prairie verbena is the plant to which you're referring.  Prairie verbena loves disturbed soil!  One of the more noticeable side-effects of clearing cedar (Juniperus ashei (Ashe's juniper)) is soil disturbance which results in drastic changes in flora composition.  Prairie verbena can be seen in great abundance on many pieces of land in the area right now for just that reason.

The best course of action may be no action at all.  Last year, a large, newly-cleared area near Driftwood, Texas was awash in Prairie verbena.  This year, it has all but disappeared as other, more competitive plant species have taken hold there and are pushing it out.

Prairie verbena serves a vital role in habitat restoration often performed by less desirable, more pernicious non-native plant species of holding newly disturbed soil until more permanent species can take hold and become established.  You can think of Prairie verbena as a salve that protects the wounded earth and wears away over time as healing takes place.

If you absolutely have to rid the land of Prairie verbena, hand-pulling is going to be the approach.  Other methods simply disturb the soil even more and slow down the process of regeneration that needs to take place.

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Odor and flavor of oils in Mints as insect repellants
December 19, 2005 - I am trying to find information on "How does mint plants repel insects" It's for my grand daughter's science project. Any help will be appreciated. Thank you
view the full question and answer

Turk's Cap not returning from Plano TX
April 02, 2014 - My Turk's Cap has shown no signs of coming back this year as of March 31. I pruned to about 12 inches because it was so bushy last year and it was not mulched thru our harsh winter (10 degree low and...
view the full question and answer

Survival of wildflowers after Hurricane Irene in Perkasie PA
September 03, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, We have (had) a beautiful row of wildflowers and sunflowers along the one side of our house. Now that Hurricane Irene has passed, most of the flowers are matted down from the wind...
view the full question and answer

Penta and licorice plants for Austin
May 04, 2009 - For Austin location Are you familiar with a small flowering plant called Penta? How about Licorice? If yes, could you provide growing conditions. Thanks
view the full question and answer

Is the Obedient Plant a bog plant?
August 16, 2008 - I purchased 2 obedient plants at a farmer's market in Michigan. As I was unfamiliar with this plant, the merchant told me it did well in full sun. It was just what I needed. When I got home I look...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center