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?


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


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?


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

Forestiera pubescens

More Shrubs Questions

Huckleberries and blueberries from Vancouver WA
April 14, 2013 - Can you plant a blueberry next to a huckleberry?
view the full question and answer

Replacement Yaupon holly doing poorly in Pflugerville, TX
May 09, 2012 - I had to replace quite a few shrubs after the drought last year. I live in Austin, TX. I have planted 3 dwarf yaupon holly bushes in the exact same place where the previous three same type of shrubs...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for a Sunny, Steep Slope in Maryland
April 29, 2013 - I need a groundcover for a sunny dry steep slope in Towson, Maryland. The slope goes from the parking lot down to a deck area.
view the full question and answer

Plants to put beside driveway
June 24, 2008 - I have a 100 foot dying grassy side to my driveway. It is about 5 foot wide. What could I plant that would not look like soldiers but be at least 4 foot high and I could use mulch or needles to beauti...
view the full question and answer

Reason for die-back of native Mahonia repens
April 01, 2008 - I have several mahonia repens plants planted on my property. This is the third spring for them and I have noticed that they look like they might be dying out. The leaves have turned brown and are cu...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center