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
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

Lifespan of non-native weeping cherry tree
September 17, 2008 - What is the lifespan of a weeping cherry tree? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Decline of non-native Star Jasmine in California
June 30, 2008 - We just had 2 trachelospermum jasminoides planted in a redwood planter box about a month ago. We can't figure out if we are watering too much or too little but some leaves are turning yellow and the...
view the full question and answer

Question about non-native tree hardiness
March 06, 2009 - Hi there, im wondering if you can help me. Which of these plants can grow on poorly drained soils. Tamarix Tetandra, weigela 'moulin rogue', ulex europaeus or salix alba?
view the full question and answer

Non-native blue potato bush in El Dorado Hills CA
June 12, 2010 - I have two blue potato bush topiary planted in my front porch in a very big planter. It's getting a full afternoon sun. I am wondering why they are losing their leaves??? Am I overwatering them??? Al...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Ginkgo biloba in New York
June 19, 2009 - A female Ginkgo tree dropped its seeds. Now, I have seedlings all over the yard. I don't want more female Ginkgo trees. They create putrid Ginkgo seeds. However, I would like more male Ginkgo trees. ...
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center