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

Will hybrid Tecoma stans attract hummingbirds from Glendale AZ
July 07, 2012 - We bought a bells of fire plant; would like to know if hummingbirds like them?
view the full question and answer

Native Plants for Shaded North Slope in Ohio
January 03, 2013 - I have a shaded north hillside which needs erosion control plants. Mostly moss and very thin grass grows there now. Please help!
view the full question and answer

Need replacements for old arborvitaes destroyed by snow and ice in Reisterstown, MD.
February 07, 2011 - Our big old arborvitaes have been destroyed by snow and ice. Rather than a fence we would like to use plants/bushes for privacy. We live in zip 21136. This would extend all across the back property l...
view the full question and answer

Moisture as trigger for Cenizo bloom
July 17, 2006 - Does the cenizo bloom because it has had water on its leaves and stems?
view the full question and answer

Native Backyard for Lakewood OH
December 24, 2013 - I would like to do away with the lawn in my backyard in favor of native plants that would require minimal maintenance, including flowering plants that would encourage pollinators.
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center