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?


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: San Marcos, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: Is Scutellaria suffrutescens native to Texas from San Marcos TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Is Scutellaria suffrutescens (Pink skullcap) a Texas native? I have found many conflicting answers and even seen it called Texas skullcap on sites that say it's native to Mexico. We will consider your answer the ultimate truth!! Thanks.


Nice going! You get the Stump Mr. Smarty Plants question of the week award. Actually, there is no award, but aren't you proud of getting a "gotcha"?

Neither our Native Plant Database nor the USDA Plant Database, which is our "ultimate authority" list this plant, at all. The USDA site lists plants native to the U.S., but has a notation of "I" for Introduced on those not certified as native to the U.S; they don't even have that information for this plant. It just isn't there. We did find the name in High Plains Gardening from Amarillo, TX. On the page on this plant is this statement:

"Suffrutescens means having a base that is somewhat woody and does not die down each year. This describes S. suffrutescens exactly."

There are a number of other plants that have suffrutescens species, but none of the genus Scutellaria. So, on a wild guess, we are thinking that maybe some plant grower or writer picked this name for Pink Texas skullcap, but it hasn't been recognized by the USDA. Or else it has been misspelled, but we tried several other spellings and got no hit.

From Learn 2 Grow, here is an article on Mexican Skullcap, which has this phrase in it:

"Recently introduced from the uplands of Mexico....."

Please don't make us the ultimate authority, that's scary. As far as we can see, it is suited to grow in Hays County, is an attractive plant but not invasive, and if you like it, go with it!



More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Deceptively deciduous, Cedar sage in Austin Texas.
May 13, 2011 - Is Cedar sage deciduous or evergreen? Your database doesn't say. Thanks, and I always enjoy my visit to the Wildflower Center.
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Cahaba lily from Columbia TN
September 03, 2011 - My cahaba lilies have so many seed pods. I would like to use the seeds properly to grow more lilies. Can anyone tell me the best way to go about it? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Erosion Control with perennials for a shady Dallas bank
July 25, 2013 - Thank you for your help with turf or perennials on a shaded bank, 4000 sq ft, for the Dallas area that has good roots, grows in semi shade to shade, is on a steep bank so cannot mow, and flowers the l...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower Center work on non-native, invasive Bastard Cabbage from Austin
March 20, 2014 - Still have cabbage weeds that infiltrated Austin awhile back. How did Wildflower Center resolve it?
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in Liatris spicata
May 25, 2008 - I bought a liatris spicata start a month ago, and transplanted it into my front yard (full sun, clay soil, moist due to all the rain recently). The plant immediately wilted so I transplanted it in ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center