Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - January 24, 2007

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Why is non-native, invasive dandelion called a wildflower?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Why is a dandelion a wildflower? {I read it in a book.}

ANSWER:

There is not universal agreement on how the term "wildflower" is defined. Some would say that any flowering plant that grows and reseeds itself without help from humans is a wildflower. Others maintain that a wildflower is any plant found growing in wild places. Finally, some would define wildflower as a plant found in the region where it evolved.

Common dandelion, Taraxacum officianale, is a native or Eurasia. As an introduced, exotic plant in North America, it is not considered a "wildflower" by very many people. In fact, most classify it as a troublesome - if not noxious - lawn weed. Of course, in its native lands, it would rightfully be classified as a wildflower there.
 

More Non-Natives Questions

Mercer Society of Harris County Plant Sale from The Woodlands, TX
March 15, 2011 - Love the Name! Anyway, the Mercer Society of Harris County will be having its annual plant sale late this month and as usual I will be attending. I'm trying to find some tropicals and sub-tropicals...
view the full question and answer

What is wrong with cultivars of native plants?
May 26, 2009 - What is wrong with cultivars of native plants? My state native plant society won't allow cultivars at their annual sale, and the native plant nursery from which I order only offers the species. But a...
view the full question and answer

Non-native carrotwood tree in Simi Valley CA
June 25, 2009 - We have a beautiful 40+ foot carrotwood tree that has been covered with small nut-like pods growing in bunches. They are a mess. Is there a spray that controls/eliminates this problem?
view the full question and answer

Weed prevention in vegetable gardens
September 26, 2007 - Mr.Smarty Plants - I know this isn't your area, but we have a vegetable garden that has been plagued by summertime weeds. Do you have a recommendation for a control plan we could implement during t...
view the full question and answer

Will non-native Star Jasmine survive outside in winter in Ohio
October 27, 2008 - Hi! I have two Star Jasmine in pots (we brought them back to southern Ohio from CA this year). Should we bring them inside for the winter? Would they do okay outside next winter if we plant them in...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.