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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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Wednesday - January 24, 2007

From: Beaumont, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Identification of Sphaegneticola trilobata as non-native invasive plant
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Hello Mr. Smarty Plants, I have some wedelia growing but would like clarification on the type whether it is the texana or trilobata. Is the texana a bushy plant? Mine is more of the sprawling/trailing type. It easily roots itself just being on the ground. Also would Indian paintbrush survive in a urban setting? I have some Bluebonnets growing but would like to grow the paintbrush, too. Thanks so much.

ANSWER:

Wedelia texana is a spreading, low-growing shrub, but not a creeping plant. You may very well have Sphagneticola trilobata (formerly Wedelia trilobata), commonly known as Wedelia, Creeping Ox-eye or Yellow-dots. It is a native of South America and has been widely planted as an ornamental groundcover in more tropical parts of the US. Unfortunately, it often becomes an aggressive nuisance in the landscape. If you do have this non-native species in your garden, you might consider removing it before it gets out of control as it has in many area where it was planted.

Castilleja indivisa is the only species of Indian Paintbrush native to your area (Beaumont Texas). It will grow in your garden if the conditions are right for its culture. Castilleja species are hemiparasitic plants. That is, they derive part of their food from other plants - particularly grasses - through parasitic root connections. Therefore, it is a good idea to plant your Indian Paintbrush seeds near and amongst grasses. Wildflower meadows are generally the ideal environment for this species.

 

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