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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 - March 28, 2012

From: Leander, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives
Title: Non-native genista racemosa from Leander TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello, Mr. Smarty Plants. I fear I've made a horrible purchase at a local plant place. Bought a "broom" plant--it's not listed in your database. Latin name: genista racemosa, according to tag. Showy sprays of yellow flowers. Picture has spears of yellow/gold floral spikes with leaves very small (maybe like a kidneywood's leaves). Am hoping it isn't an invasive species--will hate to yank it up! Says it takes arid/dry soil, grows up to 6'x6' (yikes!) and has fast growh rate. HELP??!!! Thanks! Mary Cameron Leander

ANSWER:

We could not find any material specifically naming this particular plant as an invasive, although you are correct, it is not in our Native Plant Database because it is native to the Canary Islands. This article from the Master Gardeners of the Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension gives you some more specific information on Genista racemosa.

There is another species of this plant, Genista monspessulana, that is considered invasive in California, as discussed in this article from the California Invasive Plant Council.

Generally speaking, you seem to have purchased a drought-resistant, fairly sturdy, evergreen plant. However, we will say again, always make two trips to the nursery-the first one to select some plants you might be interested in, and write down the names on the tags. You go home, research (as you obviously did) on our Native Plant Database and then, not finding it there, search the Internet, as we just did. There are so many good plants available out there, we don't recommend buying anything "blind." If you are truly concerned about this plant, we recommend you take it out, and return it to the nursery where you purchased it, pointing out that it is not only non-native, but possibly invasive. The best way to control an invasive is to not plant it.

Because you are in Leander, let us invite you to the Lady Bird Johnson Spring Plant Sale. We will be selling plants native to Central Texas, and we don't sell invasive or non-native plants of any kind.

 

 

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