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
2 ratings

Thursday - August 23, 2012

From: Driftwood, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Propagation, Poisonous Plants, Shrubs
Title: White flowering mountain laurel from Driftwood TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I love white flowering mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora) and want to grow one from seeds. I've had a lot of success germinating and growing purple mountain laurel from seeds (or beans), so I DO know how to manage it. I know of an unloved, unnoticed (except by me) mountain laurel tree that produces beautiful white blossoms every year, despite total lack of supplemental water and care. I have gently liberated several of the pods that seem to have mature-enough-to-germinate beans. QUESTION: Will successfully germinated and grown seeds harvested from a mountain laurel tree that produces the rare white blossoms necessarily produce trees that make white blossoms? I'm going to germinate the beans anyway, but since it'll be YEARS before they produce flowers of whatever color, I'd appreciate knowing whether or not beans from a white-flowering shrub will necessarily produce white flowers. THANK YOU!

ANSWER:

You are in a position to make a statement in the botanic world. We found many references to an "occasional, very rare" white flowering Sophora secundiflora (Texasmountain laurel) appearing. We even found one seed mix of 5 seeds, which inferred but did not promise a white flowering seed in that mix. We wouldn't count on that. Please follow the plant link above and particularly pay attention to the very thorough instructions under Propagation. We could find no indication that the white-flowered mountain laurel was a product of some kind of cross-breeding, which would not probably  breed true to reproduce a white flower. So, we can make no yes or no guarantees, and since you say you are going to do it anyway, you should let the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center know about it, complete with pictures. This particular member of the Mr. Smarty Plants team may be no longer here, but we will be excited to hear about it none the less. Be sure and document what you do as the plant progresses.

We found 3 pictures of white-flowering mountain laurels in our Image Gallery, but no information if they were mutants of a purple flowered one or a truly different colored flower.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Shrubs Questions

Failure to bloom of non-native Althea in Oklahoma
August 17, 2008 - I have 2 Althea bushes that will not bloom. For the past 2 years, they become covered in buds, which eventually yellow, but never open. The buds are fully developed. This year the branches have starte...
view the full question and answer

Alternative shrub for Greyowl Juniper from Cincinnati OH
March 28, 2013 - I don't love Greyowl Juniper which our landscaper is recommending for a low planting in front of the house. Can you recommend an alternative? I don't care for the grayish color or the spiky look o...
view the full question and answer

Problems with native palms in Austin
April 10, 2011 - We had a large variety of California fan palms and blue sabal palms in our yard that were damaged during the last freeze. We found that several of them now have "spear pull," which means we could p...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting and Pruning Callicarpa
August 21, 2014 - I saw the previous question about Callicarpa from the guy in Texas and I have two questions based on the response. In SW Vermont, is late fall still the best time to transplant my Callicarpas? Also, i...
view the full question and answer

Rhododendrons Hydrangeas in Indiana
December 13, 2007 - I live in very southern Indiana. Our home faces west and at the front of our home I have planted three rhododendrons. The furthest south is growing well the two to the north not so well. All three h...
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