Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
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

Ground cover to withstand dog traffic in Michigan
November 02, 2010 - I need a soft ground cover that will grow in sand, and be able to take four big dogs that love to run in the yard. Grass just doesn't make it. Someone suggested that groundcover might work. Thanks...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for hill in Saint Mary's County, Maryland
September 18, 2010 - Is there a native grass or grasses I can mow on a hill that faces south and is too large to water in Saint Marys County, Maryland?
view the full question and answer

Nassella tenuissima for Woodland Hills CA
June 30, 2013 - Good afternoon, I wanted to purchase some already grown Mexican Feather Grass (Nassella tenuissima) and was wondering how often and for how long I would need to water said grass on a scheduled sprinkl...
view the full question and answer

Prospects for newly-seeded Habiturf lawn from Round Rock TX
March 17, 2012 - Re: Habiturf installation Can you provide feedback about how my newly seeded Habiturf lawn should look at various stages? I think I prepped the lawn properly, but I may have planted too early (...
view the full question and answer

Water eroding corner in Austin
October 25, 2011 - I live close to the Wildflower Center. My yard slopes - as do my neighbors' yards to one corner in my yard. The result is constant moisture in one corner. The rest of the yard is caliche, rocks (m...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.