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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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Friday - June 07, 2013

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Wildflowers
Title: Proliferation of Small Palafoxia in Dallas Co. TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

A few years ago I noticed a new wildflower I hadn't seen before in the southwest Dallas County area. I found the name to be Small Palafoxia. It was growing along the edges of HWy 67 in Duncanville and on the edge of a field in Dallas not far from there. then I began noticing it in other places. This year there seem to be whole fields of it, and lots along the road. Has something changed to increase it in our area? just curious, because it seems to be taking over!

ANSWER:

According to this USDA Plant Profile Map, Palafoxia callosa (Small palafox) is native to Dallas County. The only odd thing is that our webpage on this plant show its bloom time to be August to November. From that webpage:

"Conditions Comments: Small palafoxia provides an airy accent to the fall prairie garden. Best grown in full sun and dry, gravelly soils to avoid rotting plant. Great reseeding annual for the xeric flower garden."

From our Image Gallery, we have provided you with pictures (below) that will help confirm your identification.

The truth is, Texas wildflowers bloom not where and when they are supposed to, but where and when they can get away with it. This is an annual and even the iconic bluebonnet, which is supposed to bloom only in March and April, will sometimes pop up in a wateredf yard in August or a sheltered sunny location in February. Here are the Growintg Conditions for Small Palafox:

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Heat Tolerant: yes"

Our opinion is that the seeds, which may have been waiting in the ground for just the right moment, got some rain and popped up. They are annuals which means they propagate themselves prolifically, grow fast in order to bloom and make seeds and propagate again. They are a good wildlife flower, and we found no indication that they were invasive, so we suggest you just enjoy!

 

From the Image Gallery


Small palafox
Palafoxia callosa

Small palafox
Palafoxia callosa

Small palafox
Palafoxia callosa

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