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

Monday - May 10, 2010

From: Browning, MT
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Removal of Black Henbane from raised beds from Browning MT
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am working with youth to create raised beds of native plants. Unfortunately we had a run in with a crop of Black Henbane, last year. They were already flowering by the time we tried to cut, or pull the weed. We are just kick starting our project for this year, how do we get rid of the old stalks still standing, as we try to control the new plants?

ANSWER:

Hyoscyamus niger, Black henbane is Meditteranean in origin, and most of the information we found had to do with its supposed medicinal properties, as in this Henriette's Herbal Homepage Hyoscyamus. Particularly since you are working with young people, you need to read all of this to pick up on the various cautions that abound in connection with it. Also read this article from Wikipedia, Hyoscyamus niger, Black Henbane. It will scare the daylights out of you, just knowing what family of plants it belongs to, and all the damage it can do. Since this plant is Eurasian in origin, there is no information on it in our Native Plant Database, but we think it is important enough to try to find some deterrents.

This Idaho's Noxious Weeds site Black Henbane has several links to possible treatments for it. From invasive.org there are a number of illustrations and some more links -black henbane. The Utah State University Cooperative Extension Range Plants of Utah - Black Henbane has some suggestions for management, including the specific names or components of herbicides that are effective on it.

Since Glacier County is on the northwest corner of Montana, on the border with Canada, it has a USDA Hardiness Zone of 4a to 4b, so obviously this plant can survive very cold temperatures.  We recommend you contact the Montana State University Cooperative Extension Office for Glacier County. Hopefully, they will have information on getting rid of this plant.

Black henbane is an annual or a biennial, and blooming should be beginning now, so the very first thing to do is preventing it from seeding, by pulling it out or at least cutting off the buds or blossoms from every plant anywhere around. The dead stalks should be pulled out, although we don't know how extensive the root sytem is. Any plant that you can pull out whole, roots and all, is a gold star. Dispose of all remnants so that no seeds can get back into the soil. Take the advice of the university experts on whether to even use that soil that you have built into raised beds. The plant adores rich, moist soils, so you invited it, although you didn't mean to. 

More pictures of Black Henbane from Google.

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Introduced invasive Melia azedarach along Shoal Creek in Austin
April 17, 2007 - Along the Shoal Creek Trail in Austin are many flowering trees with sparse clusters of small pink/purple, star-shaped flowers with a dark red center stalk, blooming now in April. They have a fragrance...
view the full question and answer

How can I control field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis)?
April 12, 2009 - I have identified my invasive as field bindweed. Your answer in FAQs has websites that are moving and I am unable to find out how to control this major problem. I use organics to garden. The recommend...
view the full question and answer

Native plants to go between patio stones in Oceanside CA
February 24, 2010 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants! I live in Oceanside CA about 5 mi from the coast and have an about 20' sq private patio with "issues". Patio has with flagstones, one side all sun all day, middle area part...
view the full question and answer

Dead-appearing Royal Paulownia trees in Manteno, IL
May 02, 2009 - Have two Royal Paulownia trees two years old.Last fall all leaves fell off. Have two eight foot toothpicks. This spring, nothing happening.Are they dead or will they come back? If they come back what ...
view the full question and answer

Alternate native plants for bamboo as a privacy screen in Austin, TX.
July 26, 2011 - Can you recommend a bamboo that I can plant, acting as a privacy screen, reaching at least 10'-12'? We are looking for a bamboo that does not spread, and can take the afternoon sun. It will be pla...
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