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 - August 10, 2011

From: Charlotte, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Plants native to Caribbean from Charlotte NC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Do you know of any shade tolerant plants native to the Caribbean that may be available to buy at a local nursery? I know this is a tough question to answer on many levels.. essentially, if I wanted to buy a plant (in Charlotte) native to the islands, what would you suggest? Thanks so much!

ANSWER:

Frankly, we can't suggest much of anything, because a native to the Caribbean would probably NOT be native to North Carolina. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the use, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which those plants grow natively. Local nurseries always have many non-native plants for sale, but there is no guarantee that they would even know where the plant was native.

We found one previous Mr. Smarty Plants question that discusses some references to Caribbean and Florida plants. Quoting from that previous answer:

"There are a large number of plant species native to South Florida and the Caribbean. Too many, in fact, to even attempt to list in an email. Fortunately, there are some good online resources available to you as well as some published books for South Florida. Information regarding Caribbean native flora is more problematic.

Correll and Correll's Flora of the Bahama Archipelago is a standard reference for those islands. Unfortunately, we do not know of any exhaustive references for the rest of the Caribbean. Most books available are field guides to flowering plants and are limited in scope. The Integrated Taxonomic Information System provides geographic distribution information about plants in the Caribbean but you would have to download the entire database to filter them out."

We also found an article on Going Native in Caribbean Islands, which was about plants. You could possibly write down common and scientific names of some of these plants, and see if regional nurseries carried them.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Promoting growth on non-native dipladinias (mandevillia) from Point Pleasant NJ
May 26, 2011 - My Dipladinias were almost dead when I bought them last year, but after a little TLC, they blossomed like CRAZY in pots outside. They stopped blooming in November (I brought them into the house in Se...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native ixora in Punta Gorda, FL
April 16, 2009 - We are having problems with our Ixora plants. The leaves turn yellow, then fall down.
view the full question and answer

Did Mexican fire bush (Hamelia patens) survive winter cold?
May 05, 2010 - I have a Mexican fire bush that I planted last spring and it bloomed beautifully last summer. It browned and we cut it back to the ground. Right now it's showing no signs of life and I'm afraid it m...
view the full question and answer

Non-native photinias in Monroe NY
April 11, 2012 - Two Questions: Is the weather too cold to plant red tip photinias in Monroe NY? What is a good alternative evergreen shrub to hide chain link fence?
view the full question and answer

Dwarf evergreen heath plant from Norcross GA
February 01, 2010 - I was reading a book that mentioned a "dwarf evergreen heath plant and wondered if such a plant exist. It is suppose to have leathery leave blooms with white flowers that produce red berries used fo...
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