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Wednesday - December 19, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Select Region
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Sources for native plants from Austin TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello. I am currently planning a Texas native plant garden. Unfortunately, I cannot seem to find the seeds/bulbs/roots/plants for some of the natives at local nurseries: Indian Ricegrass (Achnatherum hymenoides); Wood Lily (Lilium philadelphicum); Simpler's Joy (Verbena hastata); Indian Potato vine (Apios americana). Why am I having a hard time finding these plants?

ANSWER:

We are wondering why you happened to choose these four plants:

Achnatherum hymenoides (Indian ricegrass)  USDA Plant Profile shows it growing only in Texas Panhandle, far West Texas and DeWitt County, which is a couple counties south of Bastrop.

Lilium philadelphicum (Wood lily) USDA Plant Profile shows it grows in Texas, but when we click on the outline of the state, we get nothing, which means the USDA has not received data from the counties on where it grows.

Verbena hastata (Swamp verbena) or Simpler's Joy USDA Plant Profile shows it growing only in 3 northern Texas Panhandle counties

Apios americana (Groundnut) USDA Plant Profile shows it growing in Bastrop, Gonzales and Colorado Counties, all close to Travis County.

As you can see, only Apios americana (Groundnut) grows natively anywhere near to where you are gardening. Texas has a lot of diversity in climate, rainfall and soils, so it's always important to know if the plant in question can grow here. This doesn't mean they WON'T grow here, just that they are not recorded as growing here.

It is always a little difficult to find native plants in commercial nurseries, which tend to carry showier, blooming plants, which more often than not are not even native to North America. You can go to our National Supplier's Directory and enter 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 companies and consultants in your general area. All have contact information so you can find out if they carry the plant you are looking for or can get it for you before you start shopping.

More to the point, you might consider looking at possibilities native to the Edwards Plateau. Please note the paragraph at the top of the list:

"The Edwards Plateau area includes 1.45 million acres known as the Granitic Central Basin in Llano and Mason Counties (Table 2). The Balcones Escarpment forms the distinct boundary of the Edwards Plateau on its eastern and southern borders and outlines what is known as the Texas Hill Country. The area is a deeply dissected, rapidly drained stony plain having broad, flat to undulating divides. The original vegetation was grassland or open savannah-type plains with tree or brushy species found along rocky slopes and stream bottoms."

You will see from the Texas ecoregion map on that page that the Edwards Plateau is where we are. Now, you can use the plant list to find plants that are more suited to this part of the state. We will go to the Edwards Plateau and, using the sidebar on the right hand side of the page, search on Habit; in your case, I think all of your selections would be termed "herbs" - herbaceous blooming plants. In the same sidebar, you can select sun, part shade or shade, desired height, bloom time and color, soil moisture available and so forth. Of course, the more specifications you put in, the fewer the choices. We will make you a sample list, and then you can do your own selecting. It turns out that Indian Ricegrass showed up on the Edwards Plateau list, so you should be able to grow it. Once you have mastered searching on the Native Plant Database, you can make your own searches and selections:

Plant for the Edwards Plateau:

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Amsonia ciliata (Fringed bluestar)

Amblyolepis setigera (Huisache daisy)

Asclepias texana (Texas milkweed)

Callirhoe involucrata (Winecup)

Centaurea americana (American star-thistle)

Coreopsis tinctoria (Plains coreopsis)

Dichondra argentea (Silver ponyfoot)

 

From the Image Gallery


Indian ricegrass
Achnatherum hymenoides

Wood lily
Lilium philadelphicum

Swamp verbena
Verbena hastata

Groundnut
Apios americana

Inland sea oats
Chasmanthium latifolium

Huisache daisy
Amblyolepis setigera

Huisache daisy
Amblyolepis setigera

Texas milkweed
Asclepias texana

Winecup
Callirhoe involucrata

American basket-flower
Centaurea americana

Plains coreopsis
Coreopsis tinctoria

Silver ponyfoot
Dichondra argentea

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