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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Friday - April 07, 2006

From: Plano, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Using Native Plants Database to determine flowering time in Austin
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

How can I access your data base to learn what plants are flowering in Austin during the months of October and early November?

ANSWER:

In the Native Plants Database there is an option (near the bottom of the page) to do a Combination Search. Click on "Narrow Your Search" and you can do a search using Plant Characteristics (including "Bloom Time"), Growing Conditions and Your State. You can find a list of plants blooming in October and November in Texas. Since Texas has so many different environmental regions, some of the plants listed may not grow in the Austin area.

You can do a search on the USDA Plants Database by counties for each state. You select "Advanced Search" from the sidebar menu and under Part A: Plants Core Data and "1. Distribution" pick "Texas:Travis" from the list. You have to scroll down to Part B: Characteristics Data and "3. Reproduction" to pick the "Bloom Period". You don't need to make selections from any other of the categories. They will use default settings. Below is the list I generated from such a search using "Texas:Travis" and "Fall". Please note that the list is definitely not all-inclusive, but reflects only the information contained within the USDA Plants Database. They do not have information for bloom period for all plants within their database.

Disc water-hysop (Bacopa rotundifolia)
Fall sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale)
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)
Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)
Yellow indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans)

The Kerrville Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas has a list of Native Plants for Landscaping in the Texas Hill Country that lists bloom periods.
 

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