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
1 rating

Wednesday - March 25, 2009

From: Temple, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Flowering perennials beneath Ashe juniper.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Dear Sir: What type of flowering perennial plants will grow underneath Mountain Cedar and its pine needles? Thanks.

ANSWER:

Mountain cedar, more properly known as Juniperus ashei (Ashe's juniper), is quite famous for inhibiting the growth of other plants under its canopy.  By creating heavy shade, drinking up much of the available water and through a type of chemical warfare known as allelopathy, Ashe juniper effectively eliminates most potential competitors beneath its boughs. 

However, there are a few native plant species that have found a niche in just that spot where they find little or no competition other than, of course, from the juniper itself.  Perhaps best known is Salvia roemeriana (cedar sage), a member of the mint family with very showy red flowers.  Cedar sage thrives in the shade of Ashe juniper.  Wedelia texana (hairy wedelia) also grows well there.  Another species that is much less showy, but is attractive in its own way, is Carex planostachys (cedar sedge).  Woody plants that are known to grow under junipers include Arbutus xalapensis (Texas madrone), Garrya ovata ssp. lindheimeri (Lindheimer's silktassel) and Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree).

Although junipers are conifers, they are not closely related to pines and do not produce pine needles.  The leaf litter that accumulates beneath junipers is usually referred to as juniper duff or cedar duff.

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Native flowers for September wedding in Kittanning PA
October 27, 2010 - I am planting flowers for a wedding on September 17th 2010. What flowers bloom best. Looking for blues,whites and pinks.
view the full question and answer

When to harvest bluebonnet seeds in Hurst TX
April 12, 2009 - Can I harvest the Blue Bonnet Seeds now (April) or do I have to wait until they dry up & pods begin to open?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Germination
July 23, 2004 - I just planted wildflowers and I was wondering how long before I know if they will grow?
view the full question and answer

Is it illegal in Texas to pick bluebonnets? No.
December 01, 2008 - Is it illegal in Texas to pick a bluebonnet?
view the full question and answer

Date for visitor from England to see bluebonnets
February 04, 2010 - Hi there I live in England, and I'm planning a trip to Texas to photograph the wildflowers around Austin and the hill country. I especially want to photograph bluebonnets. I can be in Texas either...
view the full question and answer

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