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

Wednesday - July 11, 2012

From: Logansport, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Pollinators, Propagation, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Petunias pollinated by clematis from Logansport IN
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can petunias be pollinated by clematis? I have 2 petunias that have split blooms and look like a small clematis flower. They are growing close to a jackamani clematis.

ANSWER:

Clematis x jackmanii is a result of many hybridizations since the mid 1800's, and therefore will not appear in our Native Plant Database. We will look at a clematis native to Indiana to learn some of its traits. There are 3 members of the Ranunculaceae (Buttercup) family that grow natively in Indiana. These are:

Clematis pitcheri (Purple clematis)

Clematis viorna (Vasevine)

Clematis virginiana (Devil's darning needles)

Then we searched our database for petunias. Actually, we already know that the petunia native to North America is not likely to be the one you have in your garden. If you bought bedding plants in a large nursery, the petunias are hybridized many times over for shape and color, and originated in South America.  In botanical classification, tobacco, tomato, potato, and petunia are all in the family Solanaceae. There are about 35 species in the genus

There are 3 species of the native petunia native to Indiana, all members of the genus Ruellia and family Acanthaceae (Acanthus):

Ruellia caroliniensis (Carolina wild petunia)

Ruellia humilis (Fringeleaf wild petunia)

Ruellia strepens (Limestone ruellia)

So, to summarize, you are asking if members of the genus Petunia (non-native, family Solanaceae or the genus Ruellia (native petunia, family Acanthaceae) could cross breed with members of the native Clematis genus (family Ranunculaceae.)

The female flowers of each crop can be fertilized only by pollen from male flowers of the same species. So, we are looking at three different genera, families and species. Won't work.

If you study some of the information on the petunias and clematis, you will note they have many different forms, especially those that have been hybridized. It would seem that the similarities in your petunias and clematis are completely coincidental.

 

From the Image Gallery


Purple clematis
Clematis pitcheri

Vasevine
Clematis viorna

Devil's darning needles
Clematis virginiana

Carolina wild petunia
Ruellia caroliniensis

Fringeleaf wild petunia
Ruellia humilis

Limestone ruellia
Ruellia strepens

More Pollinators Questions

A list of bloom times for wildflowers in Michigan
July 03, 2013 - Hello, I am new to bee keeping and live in central Michigan. Can you tell me or do you know where I could find a list of the Michigan wild flower bloom times? This would be very helpful to me. Than...
view the full question and answer

Failure of tall garden phlox buds to open in St. Louis MO
July 30, 2009 - Why won't the buds of my tall garden phlox open? Plants are apparently healthy, no powdery mildew or visible insects, foliage looks great and buds are profuse but they don't open. I have two clumps ...
view the full question and answer

Soil Loosener/Pollinator Plants for Houston
August 11, 2014 - I am trying to establish a mostly-native pollinator way-station in a recently purchased lot in a 100 year old neighborhood in Houston. Much of the property has a thick layer of oyster shell four to si...
view the full question and answer

Zucchini blooms but no fruit
August 26, 2008 - My zuchinni has lots of flowers, but they seem to fall and I am getting no fruit.. WHY
view the full question and answer

Plants for pollinators & honey bees in PA
March 12, 2012 - In the database section entitled "Value to Beneficial Insects" on the page for "Tilia americana L" (also known as the Bee Tree, or Linden Tree, American Basswood); the tree is identified as being ...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center