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

Monday - March 26, 2012

From: Hurst, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Lily of the Valley growing in Red River County, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Mr. SP, I just returned from Red River County, TX where I observed Lily of the Valley growing in a very old cemetery. Is this unusual for this area of the country?

ANSWER:

There are five species of native plants in our Native Plant Database that have a common name that includes "Lily of the Valley".  They are:

Convallaria majuscula (American lily of the valley)  and the USDA Plants Database distribution map

Maianthemum dilatatum (False lily of the valley) and the USDA Plants Database distribution map

Maianthemum racemosum (Feathery false lily of the valley) and the USDA Plants Database distribution map

Maianthemum stellatum (Starry false lily of the valley) and the USDA Plants Database distribution map

Maianthemum trifolium (Threeleaf false lily of the valley) and the USDA Plants Database distribution map


If you check out the distribution maps for each of them, you will see that only one of them (Maianthemum racemomusum, Feathery false lily of the valley) is shown as occurring in Texas.  If you click on Texas on that distribution map you will see that its occurrence is in West Texas far from Red River County.  However, if you click on Oklahoma on that distribution map, you will see it is shown as occurring in McCurtain County, Oklahoma which is adjacent to Red River County, Texas; so, it is entirely possible that species could occur naturally there.

Although the distribution map for Maianthemum stellatum (Starry false lily of the valley) doesn't show it occurring in Texas, it does show it occurring both in Oklahoma and Arkansas. However, on neither distribution map for either of the two states does the occurrence of the species fall near Red River County, Texas.

My guess is that the more likely reason that you saw it there is because someone bought a Lily of the Valley plant, perhaps as a memorial tribute, and planted it there.   Convallaria majalis (European lily of the valley) is one non-native species that is sold commercially and is recommended for USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 2 - 8.  Red River County is at the northern edge of Zone 8 (8a) so this imported Lily of the Valley could survive there.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Shrub with thorns, black fruit and citrus fragrance in Michigan
September 19, 2014 - I'm not sure that my plant is a native, but I'm hoping to find some answer. There is a small patch of roadside shrubs on my property which I've been unable to identify. They have simple opposite ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of shrub with white flowers in Arkansas
April 09, 2014 - I have about 15 flowering shrubs that just started blooming in a cut-over. They are about 6/7 feet tall and have an entire crown of white blooms that resemble a cross between a Dandelion and a Marigol...
view the full question and answer

Tree with light-colored bark, thorns and long white clumps of flowers
August 18, 2015 - I bought a tree at the LBJWC plant sale a couple years ago but lost the name of the tree. I'm finally ready to plant it in the ground and would like to learn more about what its needs are. Can you ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of three-petaled lilac colored flower in Texas
April 30, 2013 - I found a single bloom. It has three petals, lilac colored with white spots toward the center with purple dots. The stamens are a greenish color. Bloom has an iris appearance. Can't find it in my...
view the full question and answer

Fog fruit?
June 29, 2009 - In your native plant database listing for Phyla nodiflora one of the common names seems to be misspelled (fog instead of frog). FYI, if wrong, please let me know.
view the full question and answer

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