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
1 rating

Sunday - June 17, 2012

From: Brooklyn, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Problems with non-native parsley from Brooklyn NY
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Had beautiful flat leaf parsley plants recently turn yellow & die. Found black armadillo like bugs bored throughout the roots. Now they're spreading. How do I kill them without contaminating the plants & garden ?

ANSWER:

Petroselinum crispum (parsley) is native to the middle Meditteranen region of southern Italy, Algeria and Tunisia and thus falls out of Mr. Smarty Plants' expertise in plants native not only to North America but also to the area in which the plant is being grown. From the University of Purdue, Horticulture here is an article on Parsley.

Now, to try and discover what is causing the death of your parsley plants. The bugs that you call "armadillo-like," we always called "pill bugs" in Texas.  But your description is very good because the scientific name of that bug is Armadillidiidae (whoo, hope we don't have to spell that again!). While they are visible around your damaged parsley plants, we don't think they are the cause of the problem but only an indication. The pill bug lives in moist, protected places, and feeds on mold and rotting vegetation. In other words, something else damaged your parsley and the pill bugs are just cleaning up.  From the University of Kentucky, more information and pictures.

We found this article on Parsley Pest Managment Strategic Plan and, while we didn't read the whole thing, we did find some indications of some pests that may be the real culprits. The top candidate in our mind is the Listronatus oregonensis, Carrot Weevil. Scroll down to Page 18 of the article for a description of the damage this critter does to parsley and see if it matches the damage in your parsley. From Ohio State University An Integrated Pest Management Program for Carrot Weevil in Parsley.

Since we are gardeners and not entomologists, you're on your own now.

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Deer resistant plants from New Braunfels TX
August 31, 2012 - I have a 1/2 yard covered by a tree, shady. Bermuda grass previous owner planted has all turned brown this summer. I don't have lots of money to work with but would love to landscape that side of fr...
view the full question and answer

Dietes bicolor(Bicolor Iris) winter-hardiness in Austin
February 09, 2010 - I have many bi-color irises (dietes bicolor), the freeze in Austin turned them brown. Can I trim them back without harming the plants? If trimming is acceptable, can you give me tips?
view the full question and answer

Texas natives that attract butterflies but not deer
December 13, 2012 - I'd like to have some plants in my garden that are butterfly attractors, but that whitetail deer won't like. I can find lists of butterfly plants, and lists of deer-resistant plants -- is there a li...
view the full question and answer

Light requirements for Heartleaf Skullcap from Smithville TX
June 29, 2011 - How much sun or shade does Heartleaf Skullcap need?
view the full question and answer

Chile pequin not ripening to red from Marlborough MA
September 14, 2012 - I have a healthy Chile Pequin in Marlborough, MA, flowering and fruiting profusely. But, the fruit are not ripening to red, as did their parent plants in Florida. Fruit go from green to deep purple ...
view the full question and answer

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