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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.

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Sunday - April 25, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Shrubs, Vines
Title: Native climbing rose for Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is there such a thing as a native climbing rose that would do well in Austin?

ANSWER:

When we searched our Native Plant Database on the genus rosa, we found 22 species native to North America, and 9 to Texas. You know, there really is no such thing as a "climbing" rose, in the sense that ivies and trumpet creepers climb with hold-fasts or emitting a sticky substance that causes the branch to cling to a surface. Roses have stiff, straight stems and there are a few species that have very long stiff, straight stems which can be run through trellises or tied up with plant ties. So, of the 9 roses native to Texas, we will be looking for one that has more of a mounding nature than shrub-like.

Rosa setigera (climbing rose) - this  USDA Plant Profile shows this rose, which has 15-ft. long branches, growing in some counties in far northeast Texas and one county several counties south of Travis County. This is the only one of the rosa genus native to Texas that is called a climbing rose, and that comes this close to Travis County.

Pavonia lasiopetala (Texas swampmallow) - this is not a member of the rosa genus, but its common names include "rose pavonia," and "rock rose." It has stems up to 4' tall, grows in Travis County,  the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center sells it in our semi-annual plant sales, as well as using it  in our Gardens.

And that is about the best we can do. As you no doubt know, most roses are of Chinese origin, although they have been cultivated in the New World and Europe for hundreds of years. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Rosa setigera

Rosa setigera

Pavonia lasiopetala

Pavonia lasiopetala

 

 

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