Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
1 rating

Tuesday - August 14, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Poisonous Plants, Shrubs
Title: Removing Mountain Laurel Seed Pods from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is it best to remove seed pods from Mt. Laurel or leave them on the tree?

ANSWER:

We would recommend removing the seed pods from Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) when the pods first begin to appear. If you follow the plant link above, you will note this sentence in the first paragraph on our webpage on the plant:

"The brilliant, lacquer red seeds were valued by indigenous people for ornament and ceremonial use; they contain the highly poisonous alkaloid cytisine (or sophorine), a substance related to nicotine and widely cited as a narcotic and hallucinogen."

Since the seeds are very attractive, there is always the chance of a child, or perhaps a pet, finding one and taking a taste. If you wish to propagate the plant by use of seeds, here are Propagation Instructions from the same webpage:

"Description: Sow scarified seed after the soil has warmed in spring or fresh seed still swollen in pod in fall."

This would mean you could harvest and use the seed still in the pod before it falls to the ground, possibly to be picked up. The plant is difficult to propagate and slow-growing; please read all of our webpage on the Mountain Laurel to help understand how to take care of it.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Source of non-native Cutweed from Burbank CA
January 22, 2010 - Where to find Cutweed in southern California? If not, which nursery sell cutweed? or any cutweed powder to buy?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification in Georgia.
May 20, 2009 - Help I bought a bush at the flea market and I was told it would have white star flowers and it was a hydrangea. The leaves look like cannabis but not furry. The leaves grow from stalks Help what did...
view the full question and answer

Availability of orchids native to Austin, TX area
November 29, 2006 - Hi Mr. Smarty plants, I'm looking for orchids native to the Austin Texas area. I'd like to incorporate them into my pond and waterfall garden. Can you give me some names. I'd also like to know ...
view the full question and answer

The Importance of Sourcing Local Genotypes
September 09, 2015 - I would like to respond to the answer I got to my Mr. Smarty Plants question about native cultivars vs. straight species. 1) So if I, like many gardeners, don't have access to native plants with a lo...
view the full question and answer

Sources of native plants for Marin County, CA
June 30, 2005 - Where in Marin County, California can I get native area plants?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.