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

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

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Germinating Milkweed Seeds
January 23, 2015 - When is the best time to plant milkweed seeds outside? I was told when the overnight temperature hits 70 F. (our garden is in Lakeway, Texas). So around late May? Is this when the seeds germinate i...
view the full question and answer

New Jersey Native Plants for a Raised Bed
April 15, 2015 - I want to plant some native plants in a raised bed in New Jersey along side a stucco wall that gets direct sun and is very dry due to an overhang. Any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

South Austin Groundcovers for Oak Shade
March 29, 2013 - Hi! I live in S. Austin now but used to work at the Wildflower Center! My backyard is shady with several oak mots. Do you have any suggestions as to what if any ground cover will grow in all that sha...
view the full question and answer

Plants to compliment pine trees in Ohio
May 13, 2009 - We just moved into a new home, the backyard has a above ground island with 5 pine trees (fairly young ones, not big) between the trees are some piney looking shrubs, there is a lot of open space on th...
view the full question and answer

Is Lycopodium digitatum native to South Carolina?
December 27, 2012 - Is Lycopodium digitatum native to SC; do you know if it's available in SC nurseries?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center