Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
7 ratings

Friday - May 30, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Wispy plant to put behind a waterfall
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Needing a 10-20ft wispy ______ to plant behind our waterfall to help block out road noise. We live in Austin. I've looked at the Mexican weeping bamboo but are there other options?

ANSWER:

How about a Chilopsis linearis (desert willow)? Not only does it have wispy leaves, it also has beautiful flowers. This isn't a true willow, but a willow might be another possibility. The native willow in Travis County is Salix nigra (black willow). Another wispy native is Prosopis glandulosa (honey mesquite). Then there are Acacia angustissima (prairie acacia) and Acacia farnesiana (sweet acacia). Still another possibility is Rhus lanceolata (prairie sumac) which has wispy leaves, bright red berries, and beautiful fall foliage. Finally, there are Baccharis neglecta (Rooseveltweed) and Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista) which both look a little like Mexican weeping bamboo (Otatea acuminata aztecorum). We wouldn't recommend the Mexican weeping bamboo, however, since it isn't native—and what we are all about is "to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes."

 


Chilopsis linearis

Salix nigra

Prosopis glandulosa

Acacia angustissima

Acacia farnesiana

Rhus lanceolata

Rhus lanceolata

Baccharis neglecta

 


Nolina texana
 

More Trees Questions

Native trees of Hornsby Bend in Austin, TX
April 10, 2013 - We are looking for a list of the trees occurring along and in the vicinity of the Colorado River at Hornsby Bend circa 1820.
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in pecan tree in Garner NC
July 19, 2012 - I transplanted a pecan tree about 3 weeks ago & been watering it 3 times a day. The leaves are turning brown & crumbly before I water it. After I water it, the leaves are brown but I can scratch the t...
view the full question and answer

Natural lifespan of wild plum trees
May 12, 2008 - We have a small border of Wild Plum Trees in our yard. Every year it seem that one or two of the biggest trees die. Do they have a specific life span? We transplanted the trees/bushes from the panh...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Norfolk Pine suffering in Corpus Christi TX
August 02, 2011 - About ten yrs. ago I transplanted my Norfolk Pine into the ground in my backyard. With all the frosty weather of 2010/2011 the Spring brought a browning/dying of a lot of the Norfolk Pines in this are...
view the full question and answer

Weird growth on oaks in Middleburg FL
February 05, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants; I have this plant/fungus that grows on my trees here in northeast Florida & nobody has been able to identify it for me. It looks like a clump of pine needles growing on the ba...
view the full question and answer

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