Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - May 17, 2006

From: North of San Francisco, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Inadvisability of allowing native orchids to cross-breed
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

Hello LBJ Native plants helper! This is the perfect place for me to ask a question that has been very perplexing to me. I live in Northern California and am doing research for naturalization of the terrestrial orchid Calypso bulbosa var:occidentalis in my area and around the world. The other variety that grows in the US is var:americana. I expect, in the future, I will have quantities of var:occidentalis seed available for naturalizing in Calypso habitat. My question is this-what, if any, are the things that need to be considered-environmentally and ethically before I make this seed available? The two varieties have documented crosses in British Columbia where the two habitats converge. That is, the Rocky mountain variety C. americana and the Pacific Northwest and circumboreal var:occidentalis territorys converge. Var:occidentalis is tougher and more aggressive than C. americana but they do cross in nature. As a native plant expert I am certain you favor naturalization and dispersal of this orchid, but, what are the limits of good sense on this one?

ANSWER:

I do not think we would endorse distributing var. occidentalis beyond its natural range if there is the potential of increasing its contact with with var. americana. If they are capable of crossing when they are proximity to one another, enhancing gene flow between these two varieties by dispersing var. occidentalis in areas where var. americana occurs would homogenize the genetic differences that make each variety unique.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

How to eradicate non-native invasive Houttuynia cordata from Muskogee OK
March 20, 2011 - I have planted a very invasive plant called houttuynia and cannot get rid of it! It is very stinky and the stems break off easily at the roots. I cannot dig it up anymore - it is all over in my flow...
view the full question and answer

Winter-hardiness of hibiscus in Idaho
June 14, 2009 - I bought a hibiscus tree at Sam's Club in Idaho Falls and after planting it, I read the label which says not to go below 50 degrees. Does that mean it is an inside or potted tree to bring in in the ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Indian Hawthorn leaves yellowing
March 15, 2009 - I live in Mississippi. My Indian Hawthorn's leaves are not as green as they were when I purchased the plant, and several are turning yellow with brown spots on them. What should I do?
view the full question and answer

Non-native Purple Hyacinth from Sylvania OH
May 21, 2012 - I am wondering if I plant a Purple Hyacinth Bean vine seed under a tree and allow it to grow up the tree trunk, will it kill the tree?
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native crape myrtle from Raleigh NC
March 23, 2011 - I have two crepe myrtles that were planted last year, did well all summer long. We had some freezing weather and this spring their buds are brown with little white flakes(very sparingly) and no leaves...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.