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

Sunday - June 23, 2013

From: San Marcos, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants, Deer Resistant, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Leaves of Chile pequin consumed overnight from San Marcus TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Something ate all the leaves of my Chile petin overnight. There is a ton of frass under the plants but no sign of a critter to be found. These plants have been in the same area for years and this is the first time they've been consumed. Any idea what it could be? Thanks.

ANSWER:

We don't have a "Chile petin" in our Native Plant Database, but we do have a Capsicum annuum (Chile pequin) and a Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum (Chile pequin), which we assume you are referring to. When you say "frass" underneath, the first thing we think of is caterpillars, but we could not find that the chiles were larval hosts for any moths or butterflies.

Frankly, the only thing that could do that much damage overnight is deer. In our Native Plant Database, Capsicum annuum (Chile pequin) is characterized as having "high" deer resistance and Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum (Chile pequin) "moderate" deer resistance. In point of fact, when it is as dry and hot as it has been lately, deer will eat almost anything. Since it is fairly early in the blooming period (May to October) of these plants, they may not yet have put on the peppers that the deer do NOT like, but if they have eaten all the leaves that fact doesn't do you much good. You can always check our Deer Resistant Plants list when you are selecting plants, but with the experience you have just had you should not be too surprised at what this paragraph that leads that list says:

"Deer Resistant Species

Few plants are completely deer resistant. Several factors influence deer browsing including the density of the deer population, environmental conditions such as drought, and plant palatability. Deer tend to avoid plants with aromatic foliage, tough leathery and/or hairy or prickly leaves or plants with milky latex or sap. Try using some of the plants listed here to minimize deer damage to your landscape."

We are truly sorry.

 

From the Image Gallery


Chile pequin
Capsicum annuum

Chile pequin
Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum

Chile pequin
Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum

More Deer Resistant Questions

Is Smooth Sumac deer resistant
September 01, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I noticed there was no deer resistant rating for smooth sumac in your plant data base. Aromatic sumac is rated as 'high'. Do you have an opinion on deer resistance for smo...
view the full question and answer

Control for slugs and snails in Arisaema triphyllum
June 06, 2007 - I had a beautiful Jack In The Pulpit growing and something has eaten it. What can I do to help prevent that next year? I live in Northwestern PA.
view the full question and answer

Deer Resistant and Drought Tolerant Pink-Flowering Shrub for Austin, TX
April 15, 2013 - Is there a pink-flowering bush that is deer resistant and drought tolerant that would do well in Austin, TX? If not pink flowering, any color of a flowering bush is fine.
view the full question and answer

Plants resistant to white-tailed deer from Austin
April 01, 2013 - Could you tell me whether American Beautyberry and Blackfoot Daisy are usually eaten by our Austin white-tailed deer, or not? I get different answers in different publications. It would be great to ...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant vines for trellis
December 07, 2009 - We would love to have a blooming vine on our trellis, but the deer devour ever attempt. Please recommend something! Thank you.
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