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 Propagation Questions

Survival possibility of transplant of sucker from oak tree
May 15, 2006 - My neighbor has a young oak tree in his front yard. It has small leaves and round acorns and once a year sprouts shoot up at its base. The neighbor was kind enough to let me dig some up to try to tr...
view the full question and answer

Time to mulch without inhibiting seeds in Hitchcock, TX
March 17, 2010 - When would be the best time of year to put down mulch, if I want my native plants to re-seed? I don't want to bury the seed under mulch layers or new dirt. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Iris brevicaulis in Southwest Michigan
April 22, 2007 - We live in Kalamazoo, MI (Southwest Michigan Zone 6) and discovered last year that we have an iris brevicaulis (we think) growing (and very pretty) on our property. It has the "zig zag" stem. It see...
view the full question and answer

Planting instructions for Ilex verticillata in Wisconsin
September 02, 2008 - We have a winterberry tree and we would like to grow another one in a different area. Can we transplant part of that or do we need to start from scratch? How would we know what the male plant looks li...
view the full question and answer

native plants for landscaping in Honolulu
January 08, 2012 - Hi, wildflower.org has been a great help for me in learning about different plants, their Latin names and characteristics. I was looking for a list of plants (trees, shrubs, ground covers, perennials...
view the full question and answer

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