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
2 ratings

Tuesday - May 13, 2014

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Muhlenbergia dumosa safe for horses from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is Muhlenbergia dumosa safe for horses? Will horses eat it? I have a client who has a mini-horse who visits her property on occasion, and I want to ensure that what I plant is both safe for the horse and safe FROM the horse. Any suggestions for sun and shade perennials that would be good for this situation would also be appreciated.

ANSWER:

First, something we frequently have to repeat: The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but also to the area in which is is being grown. This USDA Plant Profile Map shows that Muhlenbergia dumosa is native only to Arizona; however our Native Plant Database does not list it at all. We did find an article on this plant from Austin Native Landscaping on Muhlenbergia dumosa, Bamboo Muhly, Fauny Bamboo, which includes this line:

"Texas Native: No, but particularly well adapted to central Texas and Austin."

Beyond that, we will have to give you some other information on toxicity to horses, and then help you find some appropriate perennials for this area, leaving the detective work up to you, checking lists of things horses might destroy or that might destroy the horse against your resulting lists of plant possibilities.

Previous answer on plants toxic to horses.

From About.com What Horses Eat

To help you learn to use our Native Plant Database, we will choose a small selection of shrubs and herbs (herbaceous blooming plants) for either shade (2 hours or less of sun a day) or sun (6 hours or more of sun). You can follow each plant link to our webpage on that plant to learn its growing conditions, means of propagation, etc. The best list we have for this is found by going to our Recommended Species section, click on Central Texas on the map and you will get this list of 157 plants native to Central Texas. Using the selection list on the left hand side of that page, we will first choose "shrub" for Habit, "perennial" for Duration and make 3 selections with"sun" selected under Light Requirements. Repeating the search for "shrub," on "shade" we will choose 3 more shrubs. Then, we will repeat the process, selecting "herbs" (herbaceous blooming plants) for Habit. You can then tweak your selections however you wish, for other Habits, Light Requiremnts, height, bloom time and/or color, even evergreen or deciduous. Of course, the more characteristics you choose, the fewer selections will fit all of them, up to and including none.

Shrubs for Sun for Central Texas:

Chrysactinia mexicana (Damianita)

Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo)

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel)

Shrubs for Shade for Central Texas

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon)

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (Turk's cap or turkscap)

Salvia regla (Mountain sage)

Perennial Herbaceous Blooming Plants for Sun in Central Texas:

Conoclinium coelestinum (Blue mistflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Eastern purple coneflower)

Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower)

Perennial Herbaceous Blooming Plants for Shade in Central Texas:

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis)

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet sage)

 

From the Image Gallery


Damianita
Chrysactinia mexicana

Cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Turk's cap
Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Mountain sage
Salvia regla

Blue mistflower
Conoclinium coelestinum

Eastern purple coneflower
Echinacea purpurea

Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis

Eastern red columbine
Aquilegia canadensis

Lanceleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata

Scarlet sage
Salvia coccinea

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Failure to bloom of gulf muhly in Dripping Springs TX
April 19, 2010 - I have had several gulf muhly in my garden for about 8 years, but last fall they did not bloom, however several others only feet away did. Do you have any idea why this might have occurred?
view the full question and answer

Shallow Rooted Wildflowers for MA
March 25, 2015 - Do you have any suggestions for wildflowers that would be safe to grow on a capped landfill site? They would need to have roots no deeper than 24 inches.
view the full question and answer

Non-native ligustrum in non-native fescue in Medina TX
May 22, 2013 - Is there an effective way to kill baby ligustrums coming up in my fescue yard without harming the grass?
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for hill in Saint Mary's County, Maryland
September 18, 2010 - Is there a native grass or grasses I can mow on a hill that faces south and is too large to water in Saint Marys County, Maryland?
view the full question and answer

Native Desert Willow and bunchgrass for Lubbock TX
July 29, 2013 - We live in Lubbock and have decided to try to make our front yard as native as possible. It has been a very difficult process finding native species locally (even the local Aggie nursery sells a lot ...
view the full question and answer

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