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
2 ratings

Monday - April 24, 2006

From: Cary, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Determination of native plants of North Carolina
Answered by: Joe Marcus and Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am compiling lists of native plants to use in NC, and found that Dirr (Manual of Woody Landscape Plants) lists introduction dates (xxxx) for MANY of the trees you list as natives, e.g., Acer rubrum (1860), Fraxinus americana (1724), Quercus falcata (1904), Q. shumardii (1907), Q. stellata (1819), . . . Where can I find a database with truly native plants? Thanks for your help.

ANSWER:

All of the trees you list are North Carolina natives. The confusion comes from the terminology Dr. Dirr uses in his book. On page 5 of his "Manual of Woody Landscape Plants" (3rd edition) he states, "The introduction or cultivation date is the earliest record of the plants." You would think that he would use the term "cultivated" in the text for species that are native to North America. Instead, he pretty consistently uses the term "introduction," as in "introduced to cultivation"; sort of like "introduced to polite society," as in a debutante coming out. He does, however, typically give the region of origin for non-natives somewhere in the text of a species' treatment. Also, he gives treatments for many hybrids and cultivars which greatly complicate matters.

The best resources that I know of for information about North Carolina species are Radford, et al's "Manual or the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas" and the new, yet-to-be-published Weakley's "Flora of the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia and surrounding areas." You can visit the University of North Carolina Herbarium web page where you can download a very large PDF file of the entire version of this publication or you can download it in several smaller PDF files. I don't know of an exhaustive database of North Carolina native plant species.
 

More Trees Questions

Trimming live oaks in Mamou LA
August 24, 2009 - We have 3 large Live Oak trees in our yard. The problem we are having is when we trim a branch off so we can walk under the branch, the whole branch dies back. Is there a certain way to trim the limbs...
view the full question and answer

Fast-spreading desert-type tree with thorns in yard
July 21, 2014 - There is a fast spreading tree in my backyard - many multiple almost symmetric flat green oval leaves on either side of the stem (sort of like a moringa tree but this is not that). Grows straight up, ...
view the full question and answer

Non-flowering mimosas in Texas
July 08, 2008 - I have two mimosa trees, about 3 years old. Both were grown from volunteer seedlings. Neither have flowers nor have they produced seed pods. Are they too young or do they need a source of pollenation...
view the full question and answer

Non-native crape myrtle resistance to deer from Annapolis MD
April 06, 2013 - Is Crape Myrtle tree resistant to deers? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Cedar Elm trees for Rockport, TX
January 08, 2010 - Cedar Elm trees for the Gulf Coast area? I live alongside a fresh water lake with sandy soil that is 2 miles from the bays. Along the shoreline, I'd like to replace a Weeping Willow that is in decl...
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