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?

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
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

Sunday - May 20, 2012

From: Lancaster, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Planting, Poisonous Plants, Trees
Title: Growing a Texas Mountain Laurel in Pennsylvania
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can I grow a Texas Mt. Laurel in Lancaster, PA?

ANSWER:

This is one of those questions we could just answer with "no," and let it go at that. If you follow this link to the USDA Plant Profile Map for Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) you will see that it is native only to New Mexico and Texas. There are a number of reasons why trying to plant this plant in Pennsylvania would probably fail.

1.  Habitat. If you follow the plant link above to our webpage on this tree, you will note this statement:

"Native evergreen ornamental tree within its range, valued for its handsome, dark green foliage and lush early spring blooms. It is drought-tolerant, prefers rocky limestone soil, and is native from central Texas west to New Mexico and south to San Luis Potosi in Mexico."

2.  Temperature: Lancaster County is in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 6b, with average minimum annual temperatures of -10 to -5 deg. F. The Texas Mountain Laurel grows in Zones 7b to 10b.

3.  Soils. Most soils in Pennsylvania are acidic. Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) grows commonly in limestone soils, which are alkaline.

Warning: The brilliant red seeds contain the highly poisonous alkaloid cytisine (or sophorine) - this substance is related to nicotine and is widely cited as a narcotic and hallucinogen. If that is why you want to grow this plant, we don't want to know about it.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Trees Questions

Control of Juniperus ashei
August 08, 2007 - We have just purchased 2 acres in Burnet County at an elevation of 1604 feet above sea level. The land is almost flat, bedrock, with lots of Juniper, Cactus Apple and between these plants grasses and...
view the full question and answer

Native tree for cemetery in Western Oklahoma
May 06, 2009 - My siblings and I are wanting to plant a tree next to my Mother's grave at the cemetery. It is in Western Oklahoma so hot sun and constant high wind are both considerations to choosing the right tree...
view the full question and answer

Care for oak acorns after planting from Huntsville TX
April 21, 2012 - I planted oak trees from acorns, how often and how much do I water them?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Desert willows in El Paso, TX
August 27, 2009 - We have some volunteer Desert Willows growing on an empty lot nearby. Can we dig them up and transplant them in the yard? If so, how? They are about 3-4 feet tall
view the full question and answer

Insect damage on possumhaw
August 12, 2012 - We planted a small possumhaw in February of this year (2012). It had leaves and some berries and was doing real well until some bug starting eating the leaves and berries. I know it is not deer becau...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center