Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - May 02, 2012

From: Kingsland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Problem Plants, Shrubs
Title: Germination of Sophora seeds, and Dodder identification in Kingsland, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Our Mt. Laurel has just produced seeds. Can those be scarified and planted now or do they have to dry out. Also what is the stringy orange substance that gets on bluebonnets and other wildflowers and how can you stop or prevent it.

ANSWER:

Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) has bloomed profusely this spring, and many plants are now covered with seed pods. On the Plant Profile page above, scroll down to the paragraph on Propagation. It has detailed instructions for getting Sophora seeds to germinate, including scarification.
This article from aggie-horticulture describes how one can plant unripe seeds in June or July and get them to germinate without the trouble of scarification. If you have an abundance of seeds, you might try each method on a batch of seeds.

The orange stringy substance that you saw on Bluebonnets this Spring is a parasitic flowering plant called Dodder. We had several questions about it earlier in the year.

Dodder questions:

#8036

#7997

#7998

#7858

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Shrubs Questions

Leaves falling off a hibiscus twice a year in Woodland Hills CA
October 09, 2009 - I have 8 hibiscus bushes and only 1 of them loses its leaves twice a year. Why?
view the full question and answer

Search for non-native Rosa Rugosa for Granbury TX
November 12, 2012 - I would like to find an old fashioned Rosa Rugosa (non-hybrid) to grow in central Texas. I know I've seen them occasionally when traveling in the central TX area. I want them for their rose hips. ...
view the full question and answer

Red buckeye not blooming in NY
July 04, 2011 - I planted my red buckeye in September 2007 and it was about 18 inches tall. It is now a few inches short of 5ft. tall. I have had it in the ground for nearly 4 yrs and it has never bloomed. I have fr...
view the full question and answer

Natural barrier for sheep in England
July 26, 2008 - Hi I am trying to find a plant that sheep will not eat to use as a natural barrier to keep sheep out of my R/C model flying clubs flying field.It will have to be a couple of feet tall and be a long li...
view the full question and answer

Need a shade tree for an enclosed courtyard in Las Cruces, NM
September 24, 2012 - I HAVE A WEST FACING COURTYARD ENCLOSED WITH A 6' STUCCO WALL AND I WANT TO ADD A SHADE TREE. CURRENTLY HAVE SEVERAL MESQUITE TREES, DESERT WILLOW, CHINESE PISTACHE & VITEX TREES IN THE FRONT AREA ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.