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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - April 07, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Knife Acacia or Shrubs for Austin
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

Hello, Do you know if knife acacia is a suitable plant for North Austin? Does it have sharp leaves or thorns? How large and full does it get? We are looking to replace our existing pampas grass plants.

ANSWER:

Mr Smarty Plants approves the removal of Pampas Grass, since Cortaderia selloana, commonly known as Pampas Grass, is a tall grass native to southern South America, and is an introduced species.   On the other hand, Acacia cultriformis (Acacia knife) is native to Australia.  It’s named that because it’s leaves have an unusual triangular shape, like a knife blade or shark fin.  Reports varied in the 12-16 foot region for both height and width.  So, we're not supportive of that selection either, as not only is it non-native, but it is also listed in weedwatch as a potentially invasive species.  

  From your description, I would expect that you are looking for a tall grass or mid-height shrub.  The Wildflower Center mission is to encourage the use of native plants and there are many to choose from.  In my search I found three different varieties of Sumac:  Rhus virens (Evergreen sumac), Rhus aromatica (Fragrant sumac), and Rhus glabra (Smooth sumac).  Other attractive species include Erythrina herbacea (Coralbean)Eysenhardtia texana (Texas kidneywood) and Bauhinia lunarioides (Anacacho orchid tree).

                   
Rhus glabra
                      Eysenhardtia texana                  Erythrina herbacea  

  These were found using the recommended species page for Central Texas and looking at the shrubs 6’-12’ in height.  Depending on what you are actually looking for, you could review these or other recommendations and find some attractive and suitable plants to replace the Pampas grass!

 

More Shrubs Questions

Japanese maple in New York
August 15, 2008 - I have a few questions: Do you know what zone Brooklyn, NY. is in? If I plant a Japanese Maple in my backyard, do you think it can tolerate almost full shade (1-2 hours of sun per day)? Also, is it...
view the full question and answer

Identification of small shrub
May 27, 2007 - Need an identity of a small bush, probably native . There is only a single limb sticking out of a large dense evergreen holly. It is deciduous, has opposite ovate entire simple leaves, and clusters o...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen vine for wall and long-blooming shrubs in San Antonio TX
May 04, 2014 - What is a good native vine that stays green all year to plant along a rock courtyard wall? Also what are native bushes that flower for the longest period of time? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Yellow leaves on non-native pittisporum in Wharton TX
March 17, 2009 - Green pittisporum that I planted 2 years ago and 1 year ago are getting a lot of yellow leaves. Variegated pittisporum that I planted at the same 2 times are doing fine.
view the full question and answer

Is Ilex glabra a Good Substitute Hedge for Boxwood?
November 08, 2013 - I am planning a new garden in my yard (Mercer County, NJ). My site is south-facing, average water and average soil. The aesthetic look that I want is formal; a tightly sheared hedge of small leaves ab...
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