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
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 Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Deadwood for Degus
February 01, 2013 - I have a very specific and hopefully easy question. I just brought home some degus (small adorable rodents) and they have a severely restricted list of woods they can chew on safely. The safe trees th...
view the full question and answer

Sources of Scutellaria drummondii
May 21, 2006 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, I purchased a purple skullcap, scutellaria drummondii in the Hill Country last year. It has done REALLY well here in Fort Worth and would like more, but cannot locate it anywhe...
view the full question and answer

Outdoor container gardening in Hughesville PA
September 15, 2009 - Coming from Europe, I have found myself in a whole new climate and am trying to learn about what is possible for gardening in PA. Unfortunately, at this moment,we live in a trailer and have little roo...
view the full question and answer

Need a source of mature horsetail plants in Memphis, TN.
May 06, 2012 - Where can I find mature horsetail plants in Memphis,Tn.? Need enough to fill a 6 foot long by one foot wide planter Need for it to look like it's been there forever.
view the full question and answer

Native replacements for English ivy in Atlanta
April 17, 2009 - What to plant instead of English Ivy in Atlanta, Georgia. We have a nice lot with trees in back of our lot. To protect our trees there I'm clearing out the ubiquitous English ivy (lots of gardens i...
view the full question and answer

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