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

Wildflower field for sewage leach field from Olga Washington
August 01, 2012 - I am interested in planting a large native wildflower field at a resort in the San Juan Islands in Washington State. It would be over a sewage leach field for many cabins and bathrooms. Are there any ...
view the full question and answer

Grass for Seattle Arboretum
May 20, 2012 - I am writing to you on behalf of the Arboretum at South Seattle Community College Arboretum. I am interested in Panicum virgatum Switch Grass as a plant for a very heavy clay garden in our Arboretum a...
view the full question and answer

Low Maintenance Grasses for Montgomery County, Texas
January 24, 2011 - I have to replace a dead lawn. Can you recommend a low maintenance, low water need grass seed for Spring, in Montgomery County, Texas
view the full question and answer

Restoring disturbed land in Marshall, TX.
December 04, 2014 - I have a 30 acre tract of land in Marshall, Texas. The oil company has turned 2-3 acres surrounding the rig into gravel. I would like to return the gravel area to green space. Any suggestions on gras...
view the full question and answer

Riverbank Plants for Minnesota
September 04, 2013 - I would like to stablize a steep riverbank slope along the Upper Mississippi in St. Cloud MN. The slopes are almost 1:1. We are using an open cell concrete matt in which we are going to plant native...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center