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
2 ratings

Wednesday - April 07, 2010

From: Dripping Springs, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: How to deal with wild verbena.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Hello. I have a great 9 acres of black dirt in Dripping Springs! However now that I have cleared cedar, and then w/the great rains came...I am being taken over by wild verbena. (purple)..looks like wild verbena. I have always heard it called that. Any suggestions other than hand pulling?

ANSWER:

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Dakota mock vervain) or Prairie verbena is the plant to which you're referring.  Prairie verbena loves disturbed soil!  One of the more noticeable side-effects of clearing cedar (Juniperus ashei (Ashe's juniper)) is soil disturbance which results in drastic changes in flora composition.  Prairie verbena can be seen in great abundance on many pieces of land in the area right now for just that reason.

The best course of action may be no action at all.  Last year, a large, newly-cleared area near Driftwood, Texas was awash in Prairie verbena.  This year, it has all but disappeared as other, more competitive plant species have taken hold there and are pushing it out.

Prairie verbena serves a vital role in habitat restoration often performed by less desirable, more pernicious non-native plant species of holding newly disturbed soil until more permanent species can take hold and become established.  You can think of Prairie verbena as a salve that protects the wounded earth and wears away over time as healing takes place.

If you absolutely have to rid the land of Prairie verbena, hand-pulling is going to be the approach.  Other methods simply disturb the soil even more and slow down the process of regeneration that needs to take place.

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Source of Berlandiera pumila seeds from Coral Gables FL
June 07, 2012 - Where can I buy plants or seeds of Berlandiera pumila?
view the full question and answer

Plants for soil with basalt outcroppings in Idaho
March 30, 2008 - We have basalt (lava) outcropping in part of our back yard and know we'll have to search for pockets of soil in which to plant. Any suggestions about what trees or shrubs would have a chance in thes...
view the full question and answer

How to tell the difference between native and non-native thistles
March 13, 2013 - It's thistle time already. There are many plants in the aster family with thistle in their common name. Are "real" thistles only those in the genus Cirsium, or are there others as well? We are tryi...
view the full question and answer

Plants to grow between concrete pavers on the patio in Rock Hill, SC..
December 31, 2014 - I have a patio of concrete pavers, about 2 feet by 2 feet each. It gets very little sun. No morning sun at all. The zoysia grass we have between the pavers now does not grow well at all. Do you ha...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a school garden in College Station TX
July 20, 2011 - I need to plant some things in my school garden. Green plants and plants with some color. Hardly ever rains here. Please give suggestions.
view the full question and answer

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