Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Monday - January 27, 2014

From: Albuquerque, NM
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Seeds and Seeding, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Propagation of Simsia calva from Albuquerque NM
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi - I was given some simsia calva seed from the LBJ wildflower center. It doesn't have a lot of info about starting the seeds, so any help is much appreciated! I tried starting some outdoors last year with no luck. I live in New Mexico, so it's quite dry - might I have better luck starting the seeds indoors in pots?

ANSWER:

Simsia calva (Awnless bush sunflower) is native to New Mexico as well to a lot of counties in West Texas. It is considered both an herb (herbaceous blooming plant) and a subshrub. We have a feeling that, rather than having been purchased directly from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, your seeds were purchased from the tent always maintained at our semi-annual Plant Sales by Native American Seed. The Wildflower Center itself does not ordinarily sell seeds, except for a few pre-packaged mixes in the Center Store. We went to the Native America Seed online catalog and found this page on Simsia calva (Awnless bush sunflower).

Even then, we still saw no very good information on the propagation of this plant. Although it appears on the USDA Plant Profile Map as being native to New Mexico, apparently county information on the plant had not been  reported, so we are not sure if Bernalillo County has the soils and other conditions favorable to this plant. We found an article from Naturalist.org  which you should read and note the comments under "Range:"

"In the United States, Simsia calva is prominent throughout Texas, through the trans-Pecos mountains, and leading into New Mexico's southeastern portion." Since Bernalillo County is in north central New Mexico, that might have a bearing on why your seeds did not come up.

From the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, here is an article that includes propagation and preservation information on these seeds. If you intend to retry propagation with the seeds you have, you might want to test the viability of them. If you are interested in doing your own checking on the viability of seeds, see this article from About.com on How to Test Old Seeds.

 

From the Image Gallery


Awnless bush sunflower
Simsia calva

Awnless bush sunflower
Simsia calva

Awnless bush sunflower
Simsia calva

More Shrubs Questions

Plant identification for shrub in Florida
September 03, 2011 - On our street we have ornamental shrub planted in the median that has small waxy green leaves, produces small fragrant white flowers, and red berries with white pulp and small seeds on the inside. Th...
view the full question and answer

Powdery mildew hits Rock Rose in Round Rock Texas
May 05, 2011 - My beautiful Rock Roses have gotten spots of white fuzzy "fur" on their leaves in the past month. This is not something they have ever had before and I'm worried its some kind of disease. Is it so...
view the full question and answer

Repotting of lemon cypress for drainage
October 26, 2008 - Hi, I bought a lemon cypress tree in a nice tin, It is in Plastic and the bottom has about 1.5" of water with no drainage in the plastic or tin. It will be kept inside. Does the plant need to be in...
view the full question and answer

Native Evergreen for Shady Back Yard in IL
April 16, 2015 - I am looking for a native evergreen to provide bird shelter in my southeast facing small back yard. I would prefer a horizontal juniper but don't know if it could grow in the shade of the 8 or 9 matu...
view the full question and answer

Bird Attracting Shrub for NH
July 03, 2016 - I am trying to attract birds to my newly built home's front yard. I have no foliage out front near our picture window. I live in Londonderry, NH. What bush or shrub can I plant that will attract bird...
view the full question and answer

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