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

Saturday - April 14, 2007

From: brenham, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: More on bluebonnets
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Do bluebonnets, being a legume, contribute anything beneficial to the soil?

ANSWER:

Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet), like most of the members of the pea family (Family Fabaceae), fixes nitrogen, i.e., transforms atmospheric nitrogen into a form that can be used by the plants for growth. They don't do this alone, however. Nitrogen fixation happens when the plants form a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria called rhizobia. Not only is this beneficial to the bluebonnet (or other nitrogen-fixing plant) but it also benefits non-nitrogen-fixing plants. When the bluebonnet plant dies, its decomposition products, including nitrogen, are released into the soil to be taken up by other plants.

You can read "How to Grow Blubonnets" on our How to Articles page to learn more about bluebonnets and their symbiotic bacterial partners.

 

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Perennial native wildflowers in Delaware
July 14, 2007 - I'd like to plant some perennial wildflowers around a fresh water pond near the beach in southern Delaware. Do you have some suggestions for native species that will grow in full sun? Thank you...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower seeds planted in May for summer in Fairfield, TX
May 12, 2005 - Are there any wildflower seeds which can be planted in May for the summer? I have planted a wildgrass seed mixture I purchased from Turner Seed Company and planted it today (5-2-05). It was supposed...
view the full question and answer

More on bluebonnets
March 14, 2003 - How did the bluebonnet get its name?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting seedlings washed out of area by rain
February 17, 2007 - I sowed a rather large area in my wild back yard in wildflowers. There is no grass. A few weeks later after we had been watering them because of no rain (in Sept), we got way too much rain and many o...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers blooming in upstate South Carolina from Seneca SC
April 13, 2011 - When do most wildflowers bloom in upstate South Carolina?
view the full question and answer

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