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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - April 26, 2013

From: Decatur, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Invasiveness of Cosmos from Decatur GA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have been searching for an answer concerning the invasive plant Cosmos. I know that Florida declares this but I have not been able to find out does Georgia? And specifically,is it only the yellow Cosmos or all Cosmos found in nurseries?

ANSWER:

The only member of the Cosmos genus, member of the Asteraceae family, in our Native Plant Database is Cosmos parviflorus (Southwest cosmos). Since the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America (excluding Mexico) but to the area in which it is being grown, in your case, DeKalb County, GA, this would not ordinarily be in our realm of expertise. However, we are interested in invasive plants and their control, native or not. By the way, according to this USDA Plant Profile Map on Southwest cosmos, it grows in neither Georgia nor Florida, so it seems unlikely that is the plant in question.

So, we went searching on the Internet for a cosmos that had the potential to be invasive and found Cosmos sulphureus, Yellow Cosmos, which is native to Central America. Since you noted it was considered invasive in Florida, we found this article on Cosmos sulphureus in Floridata. This warning is at the bottom of that page:

"WARNING
Before planting orange cosmos check locally to make sure that it is not invasive in your area. In places like Tennessee orange cosmos is naturalizing in "disturbed" areas but so far is not disrupting native plant communities."

Floridata has the same warning on Cosmos bipinnatus, native to Mexico. In point of fact, Cosmos has been so intensively hybridized that understanding what invasive tendencies you observe in any one cultivar or selection is difficult. Hybrids do not breed true from seed, so the seeds you purchase or the plants you buy may have none of the characteristics you may expect, including invasiveness.  

For one last check, we went to the website of the Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Control article Invasive Plants of the Southeast. Cosmos was not on that list, native or non-.

 

From the Image Gallery




Southwestern cosmos
Cosmos parviflorus

Southwestern cosmos
Cosmos parviflorus

More Invasive Plants Questions

Growing kudzu in Las Vegas NV
April 18, 2013 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a question about a known invasive species that I know you advise against, but I feel my situation may be different enough that it's worth asking about. Yes, I'm talk...
view the full question and answer

Removing invasives plants in Adairsville GA
September 29, 2009 - We just moved into a new house and kudzu, greenbriar and poison ivy are trying to take over. I pulled what I could out of the trees, cut everything off at the base of the vine. I even tried digging ...
view the full question and answer

Understory planting in Virginia
July 03, 2009 - We have some 10 mature tulip and sycamore trees in our No. VA property. The previous home owners were fond of English Ivy and Japanese pachysandra. We are working hard at replacing these invasives to ...
view the full question and answer

Comments on previous answer on non-native invasives from Raleigh NC
March 27, 2014 - https://www.wildflower.org/expert/show.php?id=7827 This answer is incorrect. Please have someone review it to remove the two invasive species you are encouraging people to plant by calling them nati...
view the full question and answer

Skunk cabbage for Houston TX
September 19, 2009 - Can you find skunk cabbage in the Houston, Texas area?
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center