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
1 rating

Thursday - April 19, 2012

From: St. Louis , MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: General Botany, Plant Lists
Title: Phytoremediation Plant List for St. Louis MO
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

My goal is to transform urban blight plots (some up to 1/4 acre) into viable community gardens having healthy, living soil as their foundation. To this end I am researching phytoremediation (thanks to ATTRA), which means a lot of different brassica, and "nasties sucking" plants. Question: do you have a list of such -pytoremediation- plants? Or are you able to give recommendation for a pytoremediating flower garden? Thank you for your time.

ANSWER:

Mr Smarty Plants thanks you for that question, it gave me the opportunity to research the topic just a bit and collect some information for you.

Unfortunately, the short and true answer to your question is “No”, we do not have a list of phytoremediating plants.  I was able to collect some references, of which I hope at least some are new or useful for you.

It’s clear our government is interested.  I found a good article by the USDA and two from the EPA. The plant mentioned in the USDA article, Thlaspi caerulescens, is Alpine Pennycress, its status as a native is unsure.  This reference is the EPA's "Citizens Guide" and this one is a news story on the use of phytoremediation to clean up waste sites.  I also found a bibliography and listserv at Kansas State University, this should be very helpful both for ongoing discussions, archives and perhaps even to post questions!

Rather than giving you a list of phytoremediating plants,  I can suggest to you that the lists we do have is of plants that are native to your area.  Here is our list of recommended species for Missouri.  What you could do is review this list for plants that might be useful for your purpose; you can expect plants on our lists to thrive under normal circumstances.

I also found a number of previous Mr Smarty Plants answers to more specific phytoremediation questions.  This answer was directed towards Lead removal with brassicas, but lists some natives with those properties. This one had additional resources. Here is a later answer concerning lead and other heavy metals and here is a question concerning VOC removal from air.  Finally, here is another answer with a good list of resources.

I hope, rather than a flat “No” this give you a little more to work with!  

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern gamagrass
Tripsacum dactyloides

Annual ragweed
Ambrosia artemisiifolia

Thrift seapink
Armeria maritima

Common sunflower
Helianthus annuus

Common sunflower
Helianthus annuus

Common sunflower
Helianthus annuus

More Plant Lists Questions

What thorny vine grows rapidly in Pensacola?
May 06, 2013 - What thorny vine grows rapidly in Pensacola?
view the full question and answer

Tree for South Dakota
April 24, 2012 - Sir, I am looking for suggestions on a backyard tree, nice shade tree 60-80' height to complement a split foyer house and a flowering crab that is currently there. Low maintenance, with no seeds or c...
view the full question and answer

Native Backyard for Lakewood OH
December 24, 2013 - I would like to do away with the lawn in my backyard in favor of native plants that would require minimal maintenance, including flowering plants that would encourage pollinators.
view the full question and answer

Evergreen shrub for northwest-facing wall
June 09, 2012 - Can you suggest a tall (8-10') evergreen shrub for a site against a northwest-facing wall which gets no sun in the winter but full sun in the summer? Texas sage got too leggy and viburnum will be to...
view the full question and answer

Plants for pond, for incline and area with poor soil
April 23, 2012 - I have three plant recommendation questions for Austin, TX. 1. I have a large pond that I would like to put native aquatic plants in. What are some hardy aquatic natives I could put in? The pond ...
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