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?


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

Tuesday - August 23, 2011

From: Golden, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Plant Identification, Trees
Title: Average lifespan of Pinchot's Juniper from Golden CO
Answered by: Barbara Medford


What is the average lifespan of Juniperus coahuilensis (syn. Juniperus texensis) trees?


Neither the names Juniperus coahuilensis, redberry juniper,  nor Juniperus texensis appear in our Native Plant Database. However, further search online in the USDA Plant Database did provide the fact that it is, indeed, native to North America. Our Native Plant Database is an ongoing work in progress, and this will probably get added someday. However, in further search, we found several scholarly articles on Juniperus coahuilensis, including this one from treesofnorthamerica.net. The major problem in getting precise facts about this tree is that it grows in areas where it apparently interbreeds with other closely related junipers.

Digging a little further, we searched on Juniperus texensis, and learned that is a synonym for Juniperus pinchotii (Pinchot's juniper), which is in our Native Plant Database. By following that link to our page on Pinchot's Juniper, which read, we learned that is also referred to as "redberry juniper" as is the J. coahuilensis. 

From the Gymnosperm Database, we found the only reference to age, on Juniperus pinchotii (Pinchot's juniper).


Ages to 175 years have been reported from isolated buttes in Garza County, Texas (Ellis and Schuster 1968, Mullins and Mitchell 1996)."

Unhappily, the answer to your question about average age is-we don't know and can't find out. We can say, from our research, that other members of the Juniperus family do live longer, up to 300 years, but very little research on tree age, especially in the remote areas in which these trees grow, means there just isn't any data to even use in making averages. Looking at the one figure we have, 175 years being the oldest, we would guess whichever of these junipers is the tree you are asking about would have an average age of about 100 years. This is purely a Mr. Smarty Plants guess, no quoting us in scholarly papers or using it to answer an exam question.



From the Image Gallery

Pinchot's juniper
Juniperus pinchotii

Pinchot's juniper
Juniperus pinchotii

Pinchot's juniper
Juniperus pinchotii

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
June 17, 2011 - There is a sweet pea like vine that grows along the road in NC. IT is pink and looks much like a sweet pea. What is it?
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant called 'Bell-flowered Yucca' associated with Lynn Lowrey
January 20, 2011 - Please help identify a plant, the seeds of which are labeled "Bell Flowered Yucca" and " H. lowyrii" (or, presumably, some variant of Lynn Lowrey's name). I believe that this seed was collected ...
view the full question and answer

Identity of vine with orangish flowers
July 09, 2014 - I am looking to ID what I believe is a vine growing plant that blooms orangish flowers. I have pictures of the plant, and have attempted to use multiple plant ID websites. But have been unsuccessful. ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
July 22, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, (love the name), I have found a plant in my yard. Underground it looks like a green onion, above ground it has a broad leaf, a thin 8-12 inch stalk and the top 2" of the stalk...
view the full question and answer

Plant similar to painted buckeye in Stewart Co., GA
February 26, 2011 - My neighbor said that she saw a plant in Providence Canyon in Stewart Co, GA that was similar to the painted buckeye, but bloomed later in the summer. Do you know of this plant?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center