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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - April 11, 2012

From: Cleburne, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Ridding property of Dichelostemma Firecracker Plant from Cleburne TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How do we get rid of Dichelostemma-Firecracker plant? It has invaded our yard & we hate it! How do we kill it?

ANSWER:

As you may know, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which it grows naturally. We went to our Native Plant Database and found Dichelostemma ida-maia (Firecracker flower). If you follow the plant link to our webpage on this plant you will see that it is grows only in northern California and Oregon. From the Pacific Bulb Society, here is an article on it. From this information, we think that not only would it not be invasive in Johnson County TX, it probably couldn't survive there. We did learn that there were several other species of the genus Dichelostemma, so we looked at some of them. From the above article:

"Dichelostemma is a genus with five species including one with two subspecies distributed throughout the western United States, but concentrated in northern California."

Here are pictures of the various species from Google. If you click on any picture, it will take you to the article from which the picture came. Do any of these look like what is in your yard?

Another plant that has "firecracker plant" in its common name is Russelia equisetiformis, with this article from Floridata explaining that it is native to Mexico and therefore not in our Native Plant Database. Pictures.

Then, there is Cuphea ignea, called firecracker plant or cigar plant, native to Mexico and the West Indies. Here is an article about it from Floridata and more pictures from Google.

We are pretty sure that what you have is either the second or third of these plants that has been introduced,  purchased from a nursery, and has now become invasive in a garden probably fertilized and watered, which they did not get in their native countries. We can't recommend removal techniques without knowing what the plants actually are. Once you determine that from the websites we have linked you to, we suggest you contact the Texas AgriLife Extension Office for Johnson County.  If your plant has been purchased locally and now is invasive in your area, the Extension Office will probably already have information on it and advice on eliminating it.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Firecracker flower
Dichelostemma ida-maia

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