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?


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 - 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


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.


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:






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 Problem Plants Questions

Methods of controlling poison ivy
April 19, 2005 - What do you suggest for controlling poison oak (ivy)?
view the full question and answer

Invasive native wild onions in East Granby CT
May 17, 2011 - I have wild onions which have become extremely invasive. I have no idea how to get rid of them, and this year they seem to have taken over my entire flower bed. I tried pulling the bulbs out for sever...
view the full question and answer

Proposal of marriage to Mr. Smarty Plants
April 21, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: Will you marry me? Garden bliss hangs in the balance.
view the full question and answer

Containing roots in Kaysville UT
October 26, 2009 - I'm planting my yard in all native Rocky Mountain and Great Basin plants. Is there a way to halt or contain the root propagation of Smooth Leaf Sumac and Quaking Aspen? I've considered digging dow...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating silverleaf nightshade from Albuquerque NM
June 07, 2014 - I have silverleaf nightshade in my yard and would like to eradicate it (yeah, I know, good luck!) or at least control it. Do you have any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center