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?

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
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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - April 01, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Origin of cultivar of Sophora secundiflora
Answered by: Anne Ruggles

QUESTION:

Howdy, Mr. Smarty Plants! I am hoping you can shed some light on the origin of my silver-leaved TX Mountain Laurel, "Silver Peso". Some nurseries refer to it as a genetic variation of Sophora secundiflora, some refer to it as a cultivar, and still others refer to it as Sophora arizonica, native to Arizona. The NPIN database makes no reference to an Arizonica variety, So I'm wondering what gives? How did this tree come to be? Thanks!

ANSWER:

You have encountered a mash-up of terminology, some of it scientific and some from “common” language. The NPIN database is constantly growing; one day you may find an entry for Sophora arizonica. The short answer to your question is that Sophora arizonica and S. secundaflora are both species native to North America; both with fairly limited ranges. The first has a limited distribution in Arizona and the second is native to Texas, New Mexico, and northern Mexcio.

We went to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Natural Resources Conservation Service, Plants Profile database. This shows that there are 12 species in the genus Sophora in North America. Of those 12, one is S. arizonica (native to Arizona only) and one is S.  secundiflora native to Texas and New Mexico.

 

We also went to the ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System on-line database) Taxonomy working Group web site and accessed the North American database for the family Fabaceae (Sohphora is a member of this family). This database was updated in 2011. It also shows 12 species within the genus and includes both S. arizonica and S.  secundiflora.

The Sonoran Desert Naturalist describes the range of S. Arizonica as having a "very restricted range. Isolated populations on eastern and southern foothills of the Hualapai Mts. of Mohave Co. and in portions of Graham and norther Cochise Co., Arizona. A related plant, Texas Sophora (aka Mescal Bean), Sophora secundaflora, is widely cultivated in Phoenix and Tucson xeriscapes." You can find photos of S. arizonica on their web site. 

The Wildflower Center, as you have found, has an entry for S. secundaflora.

 

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Plant Identification Questions

Native plants for Ohio with common name beginning with U, X or Z
October 13, 2010 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, Are there any plants native to Ohio or the Northeast that have common names starting with the letter "U" "X" or "Z"? I'm sewing a cross-stitch sampler using the alphabet ...
view the full question and answer

Can you identify a funny looking bulb that I bought at the grocery store? Probably not..
May 06, 2010 - I looked through your data base and did not find what I was looking for. I bought this funny looking bulb at a grocery store. It looked like a giant shriveled spider when i bought them. Due to lack of...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
July 07, 2008 - I live in NE PA and have two plants that are growing under our pine tree. One has 2 leaves and and looks a lot like lily of the valley and the other has 6-10 leaves with white berries on the end. I wa...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification from Virginia
May 03, 2012 - We found lots of asparagus like stalks growing randomly in our field here in central Virginia. But, instead of an asparagus head it has a tight cluster of leaves that are small and roundish. Any idea...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
September 30, 2010 - My husband brought home a plant which I have not been able to id. It is a bush, has 2 ovate to ellipse leaves, whorled, with 4 (2 pairs) smooth thin skinned (you can see white veins under the skin rad...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center