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

Monday - May 21, 2012

From: Sylvania, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Poisonous Plants, Vines
Title: Non-native Purple Hyacinth from Sylvania OH
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I am wondering if I plant a Purple Hyacinth Bean vine seed under a tree and allow it to grow up the tree trunk, will it kill the tree?


Lablab purpureus (Purple Bean Hyacinth) is a tender perennial native to Africa. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants grow naturally.

So, while we have no information on this plant in our Native Plant Database, we can refer you to some websites that do. First, here is a very good rundown of the characteristics of the plant from the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Another description of characteristics of this plant from North Carolina State University includes the toxcity of the bean. This article from Dave's Garden indicates that it would be an annual in your USDA Hardiness Zone, as it is not winter hardy. Also, in terms of its invasiveness, you might want to read this comment in that same article:

"The plant is lovely and easy to grow. However, be careful where you plant it because it can become invasive. It will take over and shade out other plants. Also, it is a prolific seed producer. I planted one about 6 years ago and loved it the first year. However, I am still trying to get rid of its off-springs."

Pictures of Purple Hyacinth.



More Non-Natives Questions

Removal of invasive non-native Chinese wisteria
September 10, 2007 - I am going to be removing my ubiquitous chinese wisteria very soon (the method I'm going to use is undetermined). If I decide to use Round-up on the cut-stem (which may take more than one application...
view the full question and answer

Fruit trees for Buckeye AZ
May 16, 2010 - I am moving to Buckeye Az from Utah and would like to know what type of fruit trees I can grow. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Fungal root rot in non-native Shasta daisies in Channahon IL
July 21, 2009 - HELP! My Shasta daisies have fungal root rot. Is there any way to save them? I've been removing the browned stems. I'm so sad.
view the full question and answer

Non-native Chamaedorea cataractarum question from Somerset MA
February 12, 2010 - I have a Chamaedorea Cataractarum palm and I was wondering what a clumping palm is. From what part of the plant do the new fronds emerge? Was trying to look all over the web but can't find it. If you...
view the full question and answer

Non-branching mimosa tree
June 26, 2008 - I have a Mimosa Tree, just about 2 years old, grown from seed. The problem with it is that it has not branched out, it looks like one long branch growing out of the ground, about 5 feet if stood strai...
view the full question and answer

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