En Español

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
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

Small to medium drought-tolerant trees for Southern California
June 01, 2012 - I am looking for drought tolerant trees to line one side of our 70 foot driveway. We live in Southern California. Currently, we have queen palms, but I would like something more native or drought to...
view the full question and answer

Native plants of Arizona from Chandler AZ
March 26, 2012 - What are some native plants of Arizona, and how do survive in the heat?
view the full question and answer

Plants for shade in Abilene TX
October 29, 2011 - I live in Abilene, Texas. I am trying to find the best plants to fill in an area on the North side of my home, which gets absolutely no sun. The area is sprinklered, and stays fairly moist. I really d...
view the full question and answer

Screening Plants for Cape Cod
June 17, 2014 - I need to plant some fairly high growing leafy plants/bushes/trees for privacy and as a sound barrier in (the remains of) a pine forest in Cape Cod, MA. The pines grow tall and skinny so that we can s...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for 2,000 feet Elevation in AZ
January 23, 2016 - What shrubs can I plant in New River, AZ, 2,000 feet above sea level?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center