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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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Wednesday - August 10, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Is there any bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) in Austin, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi there! Can you tell me if there is any Bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) growing in the Austin area? Thank you.

ANSWER:

There are three varieties of Paspalum notatum (bahiagrass) according to USDA Plant Database.   All three occur in Texas but only one is native—P. notatum var. notatum.  The other two—P. notatum var. latiflorum and P. notatum var. saurae—are introduced species to North America.  According to the list, Travis County Flora, compiled and last updated in 2005 by Bill Carr (botanist with The Nature Conservancy of Texas), none of the varieties occur in Travis County.  For many of the species on the USDA Plants Database you can click on the individual states on the species' distribution map to get the distribution by county in the state.  Unfortunately, for the varietes above this doesn't work, so we can't use that to tell us how close to Travis County the grass might occur.  However, if you search the University of Texas Plant Resources Center Flora of Texas Database, you can find the records of their specimens that give the counties where they were collected.  The nearest county to Travis for P. notatum in their collection is Bastrop County.  In the Atlas of Vascular Plants of Texas, Vol. 2 by Billie L. Turner et al. P. notatum is shown as occuring in Hays County.

 

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