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

Tuesday - May 15, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives
Title: Invasive plants in native plant area from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Why do invasive plants grow in native plant territory?

ANSWER:

Actually, some invasives are native, as well. Usually, invasiveness is controlled by the soil, climate or water being wrong for the non-native. However, plants don't necessarily grow where they belong, they grow where they can get away with it. If a non-native plant manages to get seeds in the ground where there are good conditions, it will grow aggressively, shading or crowding out the native plants around it. There is no natural barrier to keep non-natives nor invasives out of a territory previously dominated by native plants.

In the case of Bastard Cabbage, which we are hearing so much about, it is believed the non-native seeds sneaked in as part of an imported grass mix. When the grass seed was put in the ground, probably some of it blew away to contaminate another area right away, and the rest of the seeds grew into plants that quickly grew, flowered and seeded for still more. They grow quickly, are aggressive with long taproots that spread, and very low-growing flowering sprouts that can dodge being mowed. Read the linked article above to learn how that particular non-native invasive got going. The seeds germinate in late Fall and early Winter, and the early rosettes quickly cover the ground, shading out seeds of more desirable native flowers that were there before.

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Ligustrums planted last summer are doing poorly in Houston, TX.
March 06, 2012 - I planted large mature ligustrums trees (~ 8 ft) last summer and the leaves are turning yellow and falling off. Can you please tell me what the cause of this might be and what we can do to prevent th...
view the full question and answer

Native vs. invasive photosynthesis and CO2 exchange.
June 27, 2008 - My group is conducting an experiment on invasive and native plants in Valdosta, Georgia. Are invasive plant species better adapted to live in Valdosta than native plant species? How do invasive specie...
view the full question and answer

Will native plants become invasive from Grapevine TX
February 23, 2013 - Main Question - I want to convert my front and back yards into a native plant sanctuary but worry about if these plants growing out of control/invasive and if neighbors will complain about these "wee...
view the full question and answer

Difference between invasive Chinese and Japanese wisterias and native wisteria
September 12, 2014 - Dear Mr or Ms Smarty Plants, Is there any way I can tell for sure if my wisteria is native? I bought it at a place when it was in bloom that sold a lot of native plants. I Would like to know for sure...
view the full question and answer

Introduction of King Ranch bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemem)
August 04, 2008 - Hello, I am a graduate student from TAMUK and I'm writing my thesis concerning natives vs. Old World Bluestems. I was wondering if you could help me find a source that states: King Ranch (or KR) Blu...
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