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

Tuesday - August 07, 2012

From: Devine, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany, Shrubs
Title: Forestiera pubescens blooming in July
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a lot of what appears to be Forestiera pubescens. They are covered with the dark blue/black berries and flowers. Apparently they are blooming again in the middle of July. I live about 35 miles SW of San Antonio. I found the flowers because my honey bees were all over them. I was just wondering in a 2nd fruiting season is common or are they making up for missing last year?

ANSWER:

Forestiera pubescens (Stretchberry or Elbow bush) has still another common name, "Spring herald", because it is one of the first plants to flower in the spring.  The mechanism to instigate flowering is complex; but, photoperiod (length of the night is the critical factor) is the major stimulus determining when most plants will flower.  There are, however, other environmental factors that come in to play such as temperature and available water.  Last summer's drought and heat were extreme and the stress they caused plants could certainly be responsible for them blooming very little then.  Last year's total rainfall for San Antonio was only 17.58 inches compared to the average yearly San Antonio rainfall of 29.03 inches.  Through July this year (2012) San Antonio has already had 26.64 inches with 9.84 inches in May alone.  That 9.84 inches of rain is likely what triggered your "Spring herald" to bloom in summer.  It isn't a very common occurence for plants to bloom out of their normal season but it does happen when there has been extreme stress during the normal flowering time and then dramatic relief of that stress afterwards.  You might like to read a question and answer concerning bluebonnets blooming this year in July.

 

From the Image Gallery


Elbow bush
Forestiera pubescens

More General Botany Questions

Native plants as accumulators of heavy metals in Texas
March 29, 2008 - I would like to know of any native plants that could be used as hyperaccumulaters of heavy metals in Texas.
view the full question and answer

Source for DNA sequencing of Opuntia species
March 04, 2014 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I am trying to do a Opuntia speciation study, and rather just identifying the species by morphological comparison, I would also like to go a little deeper by comparing the DNA...
view the full question and answer

Burn the wetlands
June 02, 2010 - Can the wetlands of Louisiana that have been soaked in oil be burned? I am a native plant gardener in the midwest. Burning is a natural process in the prairie. Southerners are not used to this and ma...
view the full question and answer

Night-flowering plant that blooms every five years
September 20, 2008 - What plant flowers every five years at night?
view the full question and answer

Failure of flameleaf sumacs to produce fruit
January 09, 2013 - Our two flame leaf sumacs produce none to little fruit. Both are about 4 years old, quite large, healthy looking; flowering this year was very good, but no fruit. What keeps them from producing fruit?
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center