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


Stretchberry
Forestiera pubescens

More Shrubs Questions

Use of cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens) for tea
February 20, 2006 - Back in the 50's when I spent the summers with my grandmother south of Hondo, Texas, she use to pick leaves from the cenizo (purple sage) bushes, dry them and then brew them for tea. I asked one of m...
view the full question and answer

Screening Shrub for Lubbock TX
April 08, 2012 - I am a landscape architecture student at Texas Tech University and am looking for a drought tolerant shrub to be used for screening a water well area. The location is the northwest corner of a yard wi...
view the full question and answer

Control of non-native invasive Japanese Barberry from Enfield NH
April 22, 2014 - I recently bought a home that is bordered by woods and a sizable area of invasive Japanese Barberry growing on a steep hill in and around a stone wall making it that much harder to dig up. I've alway...
view the full question and answer

Identification of shrub with red berries in Kentucky
January 14, 2012 - I live in Laurel CO, KY. I am trying to identify a shrub/tree. The leaves are green and may turn reddish orange. There are huge pods of red berries hanging.
view the full question and answer

Need a 2-4 ft shrub for the shady NW side of the house in Austin, TX
February 07, 2012 - I am looking for a 2-4 ft tall shrub or hedge to plant along the NW side of my house, which is shaded by a live oak. This area doesn't get any direct sun. I wondered if a row of Winter Gem Boxwoods ...
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