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

Groundcover for a wet hillside in the San Juan Islands
July 30, 2014 - I live on Orcas Island in WA state. We have a place on the water and want to plant something that is no taller than 2-3 feet, lower if possible, on a hillside. The hillside gets lots of sun, yet als...
view the full question and answer

Grasses for moist, steep hillside in Tupelo MS
July 01, 2010 - I have a very steep bank that I have pampas grass planted in spots. It must be a natural spring in the bank because it stays very wet and runs into the street below. Can you suggest something to pla...
view the full question and answer

Need a pretty ground cover to control erosion in Rigdeway, SC.
June 09, 2012 - What is a fast, pretty ground cover blanket to control erosion on steep hill. gets full sun.
view the full question and answer

Would there be wild buffalo grass (Bouteloua dactyloides) growing in Williamson County?
May 13, 2009 - Greetings, I have done a "test planting" of buffalo grass in my yard. There are now some blooms (?) on the grass and I have noticed similar blooms on grass in two different places in the area (Tay...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a drainage easement in central Texas
September 29, 2008 - I have a 1/3 acre of drainage easement behind my home. I would like to cover it with wildflowers. It is only wet during or shortly after a rain and otherwise does not have water. I have channelled ...
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