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
4 ratings

Sunday - September 02, 2012

From: San Marcos, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Is Talinum paniculatum native to Central Texas?
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I just bought a plant in Austin called Talinum paniculatum, Jewels of Opar. We are adamant about growing only local natives in the yard so it will have to be a potted plant unless you can verify it's credentials. USDA says it is native to central Texas, but I have never seen it and NPIN does not list it. Thanks.

ANSWER:

The USDA Plants Database lists Talinum paniculatum (Jewels of Opar) as a native plant and their distribution map shows it occurring in Travis County.  That doesn't necessarily mean it is native to Travis County.  You will notice on the distribution map of Texas that it is concentrated along the Gulf Coast and in the south and west along the Texas and Mexican border.  It is native to Central and South America as well as the West Indies according to eFloras.org which also lists it as being native west of the Mississippi River.  You can see a line drawing on the eFloras site and photos and more information on the Southwest Environmental Information Network.  If the plant you bought looks like these illustrations, then I would say that you will be fine putting it in your yard.  However, it is our understanding that it can be somewhat aggressive in the garden.  This might influence your decision about whether you keep it in the pot or put it in your garden.

Although we do strive to have all native plants in our Native Plant Database, this is one that didn't make it in.  Our Native Plant Database was created by collating a number of existing databases that we had created or that were donated to us.  Since then, we have steadily built the database by adding species as time and resources allow.  We usually don't add species records to the database until we have one or more images of the species to make the record more useful to the public.  Somehow, Jewels of Opar was never been included in any of our source databases and we've never received any pictures of it.  So it's one of those Texas natives that we have yet to treat, though we will certainly do that when we acquire good imagery of it.  If you would like to contribute images of your newly-acquired plant, please visit our Contribute Images page to read instructions for submission of photos.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of purple wildflower shaped like a bottle rocket
June 19, 2013 - Dear Smarty Plants, the other day while driving north on 281 from San Antonio I noticed a purple wildflower that was shaped sort of like a bottle rocket, seemed to have leaves similar to verbena and ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of thorny vine in Michigan
May 21, 2013 - We have a species growing around our rural SW Michigan property that I'm trying to identify: I either see stalks up to 3 ft tall, or much longer vines if they find anchor. The most notable characte...
view the full question and answer

Identity of vine growing in Kentucky.
August 11, 2013 - I have a vine I can't identify. The leaf is heart shaped and the vine is fuzzy. The blooms is just now starting to bloom. They are small red and some white in it. The bloom sort of remind you of a c...
view the full question and answer

Mystery plant
August 31, 2009 - mystery plant, multiple non-woody stems from a single base, thorns like a rose bush,leaves like poison ivy in sets of three with the top dark green underside pale green. thanks
view the full question and answer

Non-native astilbe resemblance to non-native poisonous castor bean from Tomslake BC
May 21, 2014 - I have a plant that looks like a castor bean but it has flowers like a Younique Silvery Pink Astilbe. Need to id because castor bean is poisonous. This plant grows up to 5 feet in height. Thank you !
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