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

Spotted spurge in Dublin GA
June 05, 2011 - I noticed that you did not have a "Spotted Spurge", or "Chamaesyce maculata" listed. My Aunt asked me for help identifying it, until she remembered what it was.
view the full question and answer

Is the Obedient Plant a bog plant?
August 16, 2008 - I purchased 2 obedient plants at a farmer's market in Michigan. As I was unfamiliar with this plant, the merchant told me it did well in full sun. It was just what I needed. When I got home I look...
view the full question and answer

Blueberries & Raspberries for Walla Walla WA
October 17, 2011 - Which blueberry and raspbery plants grow best and suvive winter in Walla Walla Washington
view the full question and answer

Xeriscaping in clay on a slope in Fort Worth
April 06, 2006 - Xeriscaping in clay (Fort Worth) on a slope -- Please offer suggestions and publications. Thanks
view the full question and answer

Plants for steep bank in Pennsylvania
July 12, 2011 - What do I do with a very steep bank with hard clay soil to stop erosion and to look nice. Is there a ground cover that would help?
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