En Español

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
2 ratings

Friday - February 11, 2011

From: Pisgah Forest, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: General Botany
Title: Use of native non-vascular plants from Pisgah Forest NC
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Some of the smartest native plants around to use as horticultural choices don't require any chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides; tolerate extreme weather including freezing temps; and provide year-round green -- our indigenous bryophytes -- mosses, liverworts and hornworts. The environmental benefits of bryophytes include elimination of ground water contamination and reduction of air pollution. Yet, mosses and their cousins are often overlooked, ignored or forgotten when making decisions about native plants for sustainable landscapes, green roofs or lawns. Are you aware of any horticultural research that examines the benefits of moss versus grass lawns or that focuses on specific bryophytes appropriate for a range of environmental applications and solutions?

ANSWER:

We can't disagree with you at all!  Bryophytes are fascinating and immensely important constituents of all healthy terrestrial ecosystems.  We have given considerable thought to including mosses, liverworts, hornworts, lichens, fungi, algae and other non-vascular plants or plant-like organisms in our research and outreach.  But, while we are not ruling out that possibility for the future, we believe that the study of the vascular, seed-bearing plants of North America provides more than enough work for us to do and is true to the "wildflower" in our institution's name and mission.

Since we do not study bryophytes, we have no knowledge of existing horticultural research involving them.  However, we're confident that if any has been done, most such research can be easily found by doing some simple Internet searches.

 

More General Botany Questions

Why do some flowers open during the day and close at night?
April 08, 2009 - My son is doing a science fair project on the California Poppies. We are trying to find the definitive answer on why the flowers open during the day and close at night.
view the full question and answer

Is Esperanza a deciduous or an evergreen plant?
March 08, 2009 - I've read that Esperanza/Tecoma Stans is an evergreen. I planted one last year that seemed very healthy, but it dropped its leaves in late fall and looks (at least) dormant now. Will it come back o...
view the full question and answer

Plants addicted to caffeine
February 28, 2009 - Im doing a science project on if plants can get addicted to caffeine, but coffee in general and i was wondering what materials you need to figure that out.
view the full question and answer

How many seeds in a Balsam Gourd fruit?
January 12, 2016 - How many seeds should I expect to find inside the fruit of Ibervillea Londoners?
view the full question and answer

Definition of what constitutes a native plant
January 23, 2007 - Hello, I am doing research concerning "native plants" for the Northeast. I am "befuddled" as I am finding conflicting definitions for what constitutes a native plant. Do you have a good definiti...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center