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Mr. Smarty Plants - Properties of Nolina species

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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

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