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?


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


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


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 Trees Questions

Apples, pears and geraniums in Kipling, Saskatchewan
March 30, 2013 - My geranium's leaves became yellow - Why? Where can I buy a good nice apple tree? Will apples and pears grow in south Saskatchewan?
view the full question and answer

Long term effects of pesticide from Lubbock TX
March 20, 2013 - I have 9 western pecan trees about 20 years old. Trunk sizes is from 18" to 39". I used a product Bayer Tree and Shrub, applied to the trees. I wonder what it will do to the trees. I talkd to Bayer ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for shade under pine trees in Grapevine TX
May 16, 2010 - What plants are good to put under pine trees in the shade? I live in the Dallas Fort Worth area? The previous owners stuck a Japanese Maple in there that seems to be ok and some sort of holly bush (n...
view the full question and answer

Plants for heavy clay in Sonoma County, California
July 10, 2013 - Hi, I live in Northern California, Sonoma County, and would like to transition my front garden into mostly native plants. Trouble is, my soil is clay, yicky, heavy clay, and some of the natives I've ...
view the full question and answer

Native wild plum trees for Johnson County, Texas
December 24, 2012 - What native wild plums will grow in southern Johnson County? And where can I find the trees locally? Thank you
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center