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
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 leatherflower
Clematis pitcheri

Vasevine
Clematis viorna

Devil's darning needles
Clematis virginiana

Carolina wild petunia
Ruellia caroliniensis

Prairie petunia
Ruellia humilis

Limestone ruellia
Ruellia strepens

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Interesting native orchids in MS.
August 21, 2012 - I have a stand of 18 Cyp. parviflorum orchids which I tell only few people about. I've been an hobby grower for over 15 yrs. Recently, I noticed I has some Spiranthes growing which thrilled me. Now, ...
view the full question and answer

Restoring the woods in Central Austin.
May 08, 2012 - I live in Austin, south central between Red Bud trail close to the low water bridge and Bee Caves road. My question: I want to make the wooded sections of my yard attractive. They have filtered sun...
view the full question and answer

Removal of invasive roots of Turks Cap in College Station TX
April 29, 2014 - I know people have asked you questions about propagating Turk's Cap, but my question is a little different. I have this plant growing in several locations, because I have a large garden with lots...
view the full question and answer

Perennials for mountain cabin in Southern California
July 26, 2010 - We have a mountain cabin at 7,000ft elevation in S. California. Please recommend native perennials. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Is Cerinthe major toxic to cats in Gresham, OR
March 14, 2013 - Hi, I was wondering about whether a specific plant was poisonous or not specifically to cats.. I've done a lot of searching and can't find anything on whether or not this plant is considered toxi...
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