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
1 rating

Tuesday - November 16, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Properties of Nolina species
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I bought two plants that were labeled "Nolina" but one has round leaves and the other has flat leaves with serrations. Are they two different species? Also, can they be divided or is there only one tap root? Are they on the endangered list?

ANSWER:

There are at least five species of Nolina, all in the lily family. The plant that you have with rounded (but not completely round, or hollow) leaves is Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista), or Texas Basket Grass. It produces clusters of yellowish-white flowers on short stems that are sometimes hidden within the rosette. The plant with flat leaves having rough, serrated edges is most probably Nolina lindheimeriana (Devil's shoestring). Devil’s Shoestring sends up tall spikes, also with yellowish-white flowers. Both species are quite drought-resistant. They look very attractive grown separately or together on a dry slope or cascading over a retaining wall.
When these plants grow to some size they form offshoots that can be pulled off the main tap root and planted. Both species are fairly common in Central Texas and, therefore, are not on the endangered species lists.
Attached are photos of these two Nolinas. For more information, click on the scientific names given above.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas sacahuista
Nolina texana

Devil's shoestring
Nolina lindheimeriana

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Plant for deep shade in Pennsylvania
April 09, 2013 - Hi! I am landscaping our house and trying to use only plants that provide seasonal benefit to bees, butterflies, birds etc. not the deer though. My question is that I have a fairly steep slope of abou...
view the full question and answer

Container plants for Yakima WA
May 11, 2013 - My condo complex has purchased large, pottery pots for around our pool. I need to choose low maintenance plants. hopefully something that takes limited water, etc.
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Laredo Texas
July 04, 2011 - I am in Laredo, TX and no longer want to waste water on grass. I would like to pull it all out and plant native, drought resistant ground cover - low growing, between 6-12 inches, sun and partial sha...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for a bioswale in Baltimore
July 22, 2009 - What native plants would suit a bioswale in an urban part of Baltimore City? The clay soil gets waterlogged and the site has part shade.
view the full question and answer

Tufted hairgrass seed for Houston TX
August 06, 2009 - From Houston-Texas I am looking for a seed grass called tufted hairgrass ( deschampsia caespitosa ), if you can tell me where to find this kind of seed. Thank you for helping.
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center