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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - May 31, 2006

From: Cleveland, OH
Region: Midwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Wildflower seeds that drop into a sidewalk crack
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

This is an odd question. I'm writing a children's book about a seed that gets dropped in the crack of a sidewalk or driveway and blooms there. Can you tell me if there are any wildflowers that it would be possible for this to happen? Would they return the following year, or be choked out? THANK YOU!

ANSWER:

As it so happens, I have an Autumn sage (Salvia greggi) that has been growing and blooming from a crack in my sidewalk for a year now. It must have gotten there from a seed dropping in the crack. It is a perennial so should continue growing there unless it gets pulled up or trampled. I think there are lots of candidates for doing that. In fact, any seed that is small enough to land in the crack has the potential to germinate and grow there as long as it receives the right amount of moisture. Here are a few species that regularly do this:

Low wild Petunia (Ruellia humilis). There are other species of wild petunia, but this one has a wide distribution
Flame acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii)
Four-nerve daisy (Tetraneuris scaposa)
California poppy (Eschscholzia californica)

Several months ago our Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center magazine Native Plants featured an article ("Finding Their Niche" by Julie Bawden Davis, Vol. 22, no. 2, Fall 2005, p.22) concerning plants that are happy growing in small crevices. Although some of the contents of the Native Plants issues are available online; unfortunately, that article isn't one of them. Perhaps your local library carries the magazine.
 

More Wildflowers Questions

How many leaflets does a Texas Bluebonnet have?
July 04, 2010 - How many leaves does a Texas Bluebonnet have? I have a co-worker who is making disparaging remarks about my bluebonnet plaque.
view the full question and answer

Is common milkweed considered endangered from Woburn MA
February 08, 2010 - Is common milkweed, a food source for monarchs, considered federally protected, endangered, rare or threatened? Does any state protect common milkweed? It would be nice; if not, if state parks and nat...
view the full question and answer

Wildlife management programs for tax exemptions
March 17, 2006 - I own a property in La Grange, Texas on which we're considering a wildlife management exemption. Would there be a program that also provides tax advantages for growing wildflowers?
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for a large backyard in Oklahoma
May 27, 2010 - I have a large back yard in full sun. What native flowers should I plant here?
view the full question and answer

Alternative names for Aquilegia Sanguinaria
May 03, 2006 - I am looking for the common name for a flower called Aquilegia Sanguinaria. Can you help? Does this even exist?
view the full question and answer

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