Contact Us Host an Event 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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - July 29, 2005

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Smarty Plants on Diospyros virginiana
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Diospyros virginiana (common persimmon) is, from what I understand, a host plant for the stunning Luna Moth caterpillar which supposedly can occur this far west. Your database entry for Diospyros doesn't mention its value as a host plant, so I'm wondering if that means either that it is not really a host, or that the Lunas don't really occur here at all. Can you help? Thanks for the great contribution you make to the community!

ANSWER:

You are absolutely right. The common persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) is a host plant for the beautiful Luna moth (Actias luna) caterpillar. Luna moths do occur in Austin, I've seen them myself. However, they are not very common since we are at the western edge of their range.

There are some D. virginiana trees along Waller Creek near the University, I know, but they aren't common in Austin either since we are also at the western edge of their range.

It is simply an oversight that this information doesn't occur in the Native Plants Database. We strive to make it as complete as possible, but our resources are limited and occasionally some important and/or interesting facts fail to be included in the entries.

 

From the Image Gallery


Common persimmon
Diospyros virginiana

More Trees Questions

Damaged oaks from Hurricane Ike in League City, TX
August 25, 2009 - After hurricane IKE, one of our oak trees (in front yard) was partially uprooted from the ground. We did place it back, and tie it down with supports. Further, we inserted fertilizer spikes, and give ...
view the full question and answer

Native trees for small backyard in California
May 28, 2008 - I have a small backyard and very close to my neighbor. I want to plant trees that grow 15/20 high that can work as a screen although I have to be very careful with invasive roots. Also I have two sma...
view the full question and answer

What is the scoop on dwarf cedar elms?
April 29, 2009 - Several years ago, I purchased a small plant from a San Antonio wholesaler that was identified as a "Dwarf Cedar Elm." My brother had also purchased a few from there. No one there knows anything a...
view the full question and answer

Problems with mature cottonwood in Justin TX
September 17, 2012 - I have a very large, 90" circumference, approx 60' tall, cottonwood tree in my front yard that appears to be sick. The trunk splits at about the 4' level into 2 parts. at that split is a 10" wide...
view the full question and answer

Safety of hyrbrid and non-native trees for dogs and horses from Lawton OK
March 25, 2013 - Are Arrowwood Viburnum tree, Sargent Crabapple tree & the Washington Hawthorn tree safe for dogs & horses?
view the full question and answer

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