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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Saturday - April 27, 2013

From: Round Rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Edible Plants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Non-native invasive henbit from Round Rock TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I've read in this book "Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants" that Henbit is an invasive plant in Texas. I've also read that it provides an early source of nectar to bees and butterflies when little else is blooming. What to do about the Henbit in our large backyard? It's mostly tall grasses, some buffalo grasses, some weed grasses, some wildflowers I am trying to establish. We have straggler daisy in the front yard. This is not an urgent question, whenever you get a chance I appreciate your time, thank you very much.

ANSWER:

According to this article from Invasives.org,  Lamium amplexicaule (Henbit) is, indeed an invasive weed in Texas. Of course, it is a member of the mint family, all of which are considered pushy to downright invasive, so you could always eat it. From Eat the Weeds Henbit: The Top of the Pecking Order.  However, it is also not native to North America, but to Europe, western Asia and northern Africa, so it would not appear in our Native Plant Database, and is out of our scope.

According to this USDA Plant Profile Map, henbit does grow in Travis and Williamson counties. If you consider it an advantage to wildlife and it is not crowding anything else out of your garden, there seems to be no reason to try to eliminate it.

 

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