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
2 ratings

Wednesday - June 07, 2006

From: Leander, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Native Texas Hill Country nitrogen-fixing plants
Answered by: Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

Please help me find a listing of native (TX Hill Country) nitrogen-fixing plants.

ANSWER:

A centralized listing of nitrogen-fixing plants native to the Texas Hill Country does not appear to exist at this point, but there is a relatively simple way to construct one. Since almost all members of the legume family, Fabaceae, are known to fix nitrogen, finding a list of native Central Texas plants in that family would cover most nitrogen-fixing plants in your region. Since you're in Williamson County, this flora of neighboring Travis County would be a good start. Simply go down to the Fabaceae section to get to the leguminous plants. There are many, including some commonly used in landscaping, such as Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora), redbud (Cercis canadensis), Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa), and bluebonnets (Lupinus spp.).

Consulting books that cover a broader region, such as Shinners and Mahler's Flora of North Central Texas (which includes most of Williamson County) and the Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas (which lists leguminous plants under the older name, Leguminosae), paying attention to which species occur in the Hill Country, can help produce a more complete list. Both books are commonly available in Texas libraries.

In addition to the legumes, there are several other plant genera that fix nitrogen. Central Texas examples of these include Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus montanus), native to the western edge of the Hill Country, and Redroot (Ceanothus herbaceous).

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Are non-native hostas causing fly invasion from Eastpointe MI
July 14, 2013 - I live in Michigan with a small backyard. I have 5 large hostas with the purple flower blooms which are located by my patio. I was wondering if they can be causing my large population of unwanted flie...
view the full question and answer

Colorful flowering plants in shade of live oak in Louisiana
November 29, 2013 - What colorful flowering plants can be grown near the shady base of live oak trees in the Deep South?
view the full question and answer

Identity of a yellow-flowered wildflower with prickly burs
May 20, 2013 - Hi there. We have seen a wildflower, probably invasive, that is at least in Travis, Williamson, and Hays counties. We have tried to identify it without success, The structure of the plant is remark...
view the full question and answer

What are the grey-green plants on oak trees in San Marcos, TX?
March 12, 2011 - The oak trees in the neighborhood in San Marcos, TX, are covered with clumps, or balls, of gray/green fluffy-looking plants. they remind me of bromeliads. You can pull and knock them off; after wind ...
view the full question and answer

Interesting native orchids in MS.
August 21, 2012 - I have a stand of 18 Cyp. parviflorum orchids which I tell only few people about. I've been an hobby grower for over 15 yrs. Recently, I noticed I has some Spiranthes growing which thrilled me. Now, ...
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