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 - July 07, 2011

From: Hillsboro, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Rare or Endangered Plants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Wide appearance of Texas Bluebells in Hillsboro TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I thought Texas Bluebells were rare, endangered and liked wet places. So why, after at least a dozen years of not seeing any and during this horrible drought am I seeing them where I have never seen them before. I see lots for miles around me. Maybe that is what the last query was about.

ANSWER:

We are not sure which recent answer on bluebells you are referring to, but the most recent Mr. Smarty Plants question had to do with propagation of bluebells.

This USDA Plant Profile map shows that Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum (Texas bluebells) is native around Hill County. It also appears to grow in a few counties in the Texas Panhandle, which could hardly qualify as wet places. One reason that you don't see so many around ordinarily is from our webpage on this plant in our Native Plant Database:

"One reason Texas Bluebells are not as common now as they once were is due to their beauty. People have literally picked them from the wild in such numbers that the wild populations have been unable to reseed in their native habitat."

From The Austin Wildflower, read this article on The Texas Bluebell, which explores some of the different names of this plant, and agrees that it is "near extinction." This was, however, the only time we found any reference to this plant being rare or endangered. We have two thoughts on your seeing so many of them in your area. The first is that a plant called "Lisianthus" which is the old scientific name for Eustoma has been grown extensively in Japan for 70 years and is often sold in nurseries. Some of these may have been sowed or accidentally escaped from gardens, and now have a new career as weeds. The other thought is that we wonder if you are seeing some other blue flower perhaps, again, a non-native that has escaped. Pictures below of our "real" Texas Bluebell.

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Will Canada geese eat Asclepias tuberosa from Cape May Court, NJ
May 20, 2014 - Will Canada geese eat my butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)? I know this plant is deer resistant. I really want to plant some on sandy bank near pond in my back yard, but I fear the geese will ...
view the full question and answer

Flowering plant for gravesite in Weatherford TX
June 23, 2013 - I want to plant flowering plant of some kind at parent's grave site in Weatherford, TX. The family cemetery is on a limestone hill with no irrigation or ability to water other than nature. Would on...
view the full question and answer

Neighborhood association wanting wildflowers mowed from Grand Prairie TX
July 14, 2013 - For at least 15 years, I have been fostering growth of wildflowers in 60% of my 90x400' yard which include 150' utility trunkline easement in which I can plant no trees. This year, we had volunteer ...
view the full question and answer

Native Species List for Ponca OK
June 24, 2011 - I planted daylilies in my Austin garden and did not do well. I moved these daylilies to my garden in Ponca City Oklahoma and have done outstanding relying only on mother nature's rain. My garden in ...
view the full question and answer

Unknown ailment of Turk's cap in northeast Texas
July 01, 2013 - I just moved from the Dallas area to Emory in the north east part. I brought two young Turk's cap plants in pots. I had to leave the mother plant behind. The tops have a very curled and shrunken a...
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
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center