Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Sunday - November 20, 2011

From: Wimberley, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Trees
Title: What are the pines growing at South Padre Island, Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, On a recent trip to South Padre Island, we noticed a large number of beautiful long leaf pines. I asked several residents what the name was but no one knew. I have searched and googled trying to identify this tree, to no avail. I'm wondering if you know what it is and if so, will it grow in Wimberley TX.

ANSWER:

The USDA Plants Database shows no Pinus sp. (pines) growing naturally in Cameron, Kenedy, Kleberg, Nueces and Willacy Counties (the counties included in South Padre Island).   That doesn't mean that someone might not have planted pines at their business or home, but I suspect what you saw was not a true pine.  Searching on the internet I found a reference to Norfolk pines on South Padre Island.  I suspect that is what you were seeing— Araucaria heterophylla (Norfolk pine) or the related, Araucaria columnaris (Cook Island pine), both native to South Pacific islands.  If one of these is what you were seeing, it is not likely to thrive in Wimberley outdoors since they are considered tropical and sub-tropical species.  The recommended USDA Hardiness Zones are 10-11 for Norfolk pine and zones 9-11 for Cook Island pine; whereas, Wimberley is in Zone 8.   They are often sold as indoor plants and here is one version of how to care for an indoor Norfolk pine.

Additionally, we wouldn't recommend planting this tree outdoors in Wimberley because it is not native to North America and:

"The mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes."

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of pink flower photographed at the Wildflower Center
January 08, 2013 - Last August I took a photo at the Wildflower Center and now I'm trying to identify it. The flower has many pink petals that either stick straight out or downward and the center has pink frills edging...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plants emerging from "wildflower mix" of seeds
January 02, 2007 - I planted a "wildflower mix" a couple months ago, and now I have a bunch of plants growing that I'm not sure what they are. Some of them are starting to make buds, and I've been looking on the in...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification request
September 15, 2007 - I took a trip to Arizona in 9/06. While out walking through public land I encountered a beautiful plant with very distinctive leaves, color of woody stems and flowers. I have scoured the USDA plant ...
view the full question and answer

What is it?
May 29, 2008 - We have two bushes about three ft. high that have narrow leaves that are about one to two inches long and glossy green on top side with soft green on back. They are fairly close together on stems with...
view the full question and answer

Mystery forest plant in WV
May 21, 2012 - In the mountains of southern WV I have several acres of shady, moist land. It has never been developed and is COVERED with a low growing fern?ground cover?whatever. It creeps along on very shallow r...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.