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?


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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - May 16, 2010

From: Vancouver, BC
Region: Canada
Topic: Non-Natives, Vines
Title: Problem with acanthus in Vancouver BC
Answered by: Barbara Medford


My girlfriend's Mom just planted an Acanthus in her garden. In the morning, it apparently stands up tall, but in the evening it bends over until the the leaves are lying in the dirt. She's concerned there's something wrong with it. Is there?


Not being able to see the plant, and since the climate in Vancouver is way different from Austin, TX, we did a little research to see what your friend's mother has in her garden.There is one plant with "acanthus" as one of its common names in our Native Plant Database, Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii (Wright's desert honeysuckle), which is in the family Acanthaceae and genus aniscanthus. It is  endemic to Texas, and can survive as far north as Dallas, although it may die down to the ground there and re-emerge in the spring.

So, we're thinking that is probably not the Acanthus your friend's mother planted. It is more likely that the plant is  Acanthus mollis, described in this Floridata site.  It also belongs to the Acanthaceae Family but the genus is aniscanthus.

Acanthus mollis is non-native to North America, instead being native to Africa, Temperate Asia and Europe, and therefore out of our range of expertise and not in our Native Plant Database. We suggest you compare the pictures from Google of Acanthus mollis, with the pictures below from our Native Plant Image Gallery of Aniscanthus quadrifidus.

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii








More Non-Natives Questions

Source for non-native, invasive Winter Honeysuckle from Austin
April 24, 2013 - Seeing Lonicera abiflora today reminds me of the "winter honeysuckle" my grandfather grew in San Antonio from 1920s or so through the 1950's. It was a bush with stiff upright stems and bloomed cre...
view the full question and answer

Pruning of non-native New Dawn rose in Fairfield CT
May 13, 2009 - Hi! Can you help me with blind shoots on a climbing rose, New Dawn? The sun is planted in the south side of the house and gets plenty of light. I have only lightly fertilized it twice a year last yea...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for a privacy screen besides Murray Cypress.
October 18, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in NE TX, about an hour east of Dallas on I-20. I hear interstate traffic behind my house, and have a busy street on its left side, and a school adjoining in back. I thi...
view the full question and answer

Flowering of pineapple guavas
November 06, 2007 - I have two pineapple guavas in their second year of planting. Both have grown extremely well, but have not flowered. I live in zone 9 near the Gulf and they receive normal irrigation. Do they take ...
view the full question and answer

Tree with taproot for Jodhpur India
July 05, 2013 - I am a resident of India. I need information of a tree with tap roots to grow in my backyard. We have moderate to hot climate here. It needs to be as small as possible due to lack of space. It'd be g...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center