En Español

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

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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - November 05, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Deer Resistant, Wildflowers
Title: Arizona centaury near Lost Maples from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I found a clump of Arizona centaury growing/blooming beside a road near Lost Maples State Nat. Area in the Texas hill country last week. Centaurium calycosum is the scientific name. I have 2 questions: Is is commercially available? and is it deer resistant? I was surprised to find it blooming in November, but there it was, and gorgeous.


As you can see from this USDA Plant Profile Map, the Centaurium calycosum (Arizona centaury) grows natively in the Kerr/Bandera county area. You are correct, it is uncommon for it to be blooming now, as its ordinary bloom time is April to June; however, bloom times can vary according to the plant hardiness zone in which a plant is growing, odd variations in temperatures and especially rainfall. Obviously, the plants you saw had not read our Native Plant Database to find out when it is supposed to be blooming. This is a member of the Gententiaceae (Gentian) family and an annual so we will postulate that some dormant seeds in the ground took the opportunity to pop up when a rain passed through. This is how Texas wildflowers survive - they don't bloom when we say they do, they bloom when they can in order to make more seeds and help the species survive.

Unfortunately, this plant does not appear on our Deer Resistant Species list. There is another species of this genus, Centaurium texense (Lady bird's centaury), that lives in the same area, but no member of that genus appears as deer resistant. There are definitely deer, in abundance, in the area where you observed the plant, so if they weren't eaten, maybe the deer have enough of other food to eat right now.

Native American Seed is usually our go-to source for native wildflower seeds, but we did not find it in their online catalog. We found a website called Native Seed Network which said the seeds for this plant are not commercially available. On the off chance the Seed Network hadn't looked hard enough, we suggest you go to our National Suppliers Directory, put your town and state or just your zip code in the Enter Search Location box, and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and consultants in your general area. All will have contact information, so possibly you can find a supplier in the area.


From the Image Gallery

Arizona centaury
Centaurium calycosum

Arizona centaury
Centaurium calycosum

Arizona centaury
Centaurium calycosum

Lady bird's centaury
Centaurium texense

Lady bird's centaury
Centaurium texense

Lady bird's centaury
Centaurium texense

More Wildflowers Questions

Evergreen groundcovers for NE NC
April 20, 2015 - Can you please provide a list of evergreen native groundcovers for Northeastern NC?
view the full question and answer

East Texas Natives and Botanical History
May 05, 2011 - I am looking for flowers &/or flowering shrubs that are native to east Texas, especially that would have been in this area over 100 or more years ago.
view the full question and answer

Native Plants for Galveston
February 12, 2012 - I'm looking for low maintenance, drought tolerant plants for Galveston, on the bay side, in a well drained area with morning sun. I was thinking of Phlox, Muhly grass, Lantana.....and I am looking f...
view the full question and answer

2012 wildflower forecast from Friendswood TX
September 29, 2011 - What is your current view of the 2012 Wildflower Forecast? What weeks might be best for someone traveling from Colorado to see our flowers? We are concerned about what the drought will do to the 20...
view the full question and answer

Native flowers for color year round
May 02, 2007 - I have the opportunity to recommend plants for a religious organization. They want YEAR ROUND color in some areas, much like how commercial sites use annual color. I would like to suggest native/ada...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center