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

Tuesday - April 15, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Evergreen grasslike plants for Austin TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, I'm in Austin, TX and looking for some evergreen grass-looking plants. Would you explain the similarities/differences between Butterfly Iris and Lily Grass in this regard? Thank you

ANSWER:

First, let me tell you what the major similarity is—neither plant is native to North America. Butterfly, or African Iris (Dietes sp.) is native to Africa and Lily grass, or weeping Anthericum (Anthericum saundersiae) is native to southern Europe and Turkey. Here is one difference (besides the obvious difference in appearance)—Butterfly iris is a member of the Family Iridaceae (Iris Family) and Lily grass is a member of the Family Liliaceae (Lily Family). Now, since our focus and expertise here at the Wildflower Center is with plants native to North America, we can't really be much more help than that with these two. However, we can suggest, as substitutes for them, some evergreen grasslike plants that are native to Texas. Since they are native, they are adapted to our climate, require less water and do well in our rocky clay soils.

There are several sedges that are evergreen:

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge)

Carex planostachys (cedar sedge)

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

Other possibilities that are larger, evergreen and grasslike are:

Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista)

Hesperaloe parviflora (redflower false yucca)


Carex blanda

Carex cherokeensis

Carex planostachys

Carex texensis

Nolina texana

Hesperaloe parviflora

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Plants/grasses for a bioswale in Maryland
February 08, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I'm looking for a good seed mixture, wetland plant/grass mix, to use in Bio-Swales in central Maryland. Can you help me?
view the full question and answer

Native grasses palatable for horses and eliminating KR bluestem.
January 11, 2008 - Looking for native Texas grasses which are palatable for horses, to overseed in areas which are currently overrun with KR bluestem. What are the best grasses and best way to accomplish this? (SW Gi...
view the full question and answer

Habiturf for East Texas
May 14, 2012 - We live in east Texas, right on the beginning of the piney words, the soil is a little sandy. We have taken up a wooden walkway but can't get anything to grow there. Could the soil be dead from year ...
view the full question and answer

Competition between peony and bulbs
November 06, 2015 - I am planting 3 herbaceous peony bare roots 3 feet apart from each other. I am told it will take 3 years before I get blooms. In the meantime, can i safely plant springtime flowering bulbs in th...
view the full question and answer

O.K. to grow grass under a live oak?
November 26, 2014 - Is it a bad idea to plant grass around a mature live oak? We have erosion issues and trying to keep mulch in the beds around the tree groves is a challenge, even with edging. Much of the native dirt...
view the full question and answer

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