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

Sunday - December 23, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany, User Comments, Shrubs
Title: Comments on white-flowered Mountain Laurel from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Following up on the August 23, 2012, question from Driftwood about the white-flowering mountain laurel, I have found a few more leads to explore. First, there are four more images of white-flowering mountain laurel in your files. You found Nos. 4378, 18492, and 18493. I also found 18298 and 18489, which seem to be pure white, as well as 18255, which is almost completely white but has the slightest tinge of purple to some of the blooms, and 18482, which shows a plant with pure white blossoms except possibly for a few on one branch at the right side of the top of the photo. At the resolution I could view, it looks like the purple clusters are on the white-flowering plant, although it is possible that the picture is showing one branch from a purple-flowering plant that is intermingled with the branches of the white-flowering plant. Finally, image 4385 shows blossoms that have some purple petals and some pure white petals. A number of other photos seem to have at least some white or whitish areas on the flowers: 24675 and 24677, for example. So it does seem that some degree of variation within individual plants is possible. Beyond reviewing these photos, I noted these leads: the photographers. Sally and Andy Wasowski took photos 24675 and 24677. Perhaps a conversation with them (have they retired to New Mexico?) would shed some light on the issue. And Bennie Simpson took 18255, 18298, 18482, 18489, 18492, and 18493. I know Bennie is no longer with us, but his writings are. Having taken so many photographs of the white-flowering S. secundiflora, surely he also wrote something of it. I can't find his Texas Trees—isn't that the name?—in which I think he lists the mountain laurel as a plant that isn't quite a tree, although some people consider it to be one. He doesn't say a lot about each entry in that particular book, but you never know what you will learn from it. And if you have access to other writings of Bennie's, perhaps you'll find out more from them. Brother Daniel Lynch's volume about the native trees of the Hill Country might also be a good source. (I've got to finish working on the office; I can't believe I can find neither Bennie's nor Brother Dan's book!) Anyway, it's an interesting question, and I hope these leads will give you the opportunity to explore it further. Thanks!

ANSWER:

Thank you for the information on the white-flowered Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) in Driftwood TX. We are glad you have found our Image Gallery informative. Of course, we usually publish only one or two pictures at a time on any one plant on our answers to Mr. Smarty Plants questions. We could not find the previous question you mentioned, but we do remember it, we think. It was answered by Joe Marcus, a degreed Horticulturist on our staff. He not only had seen the plant previously mentioned in Driftwood, but he, himself, has taken a great many of the pictures in the Gallery. As we recall, the question involved gathering seeds from a white-flowered plant in hope they would seed true, but Joe's feeling was that they probably would not. However, in case someone else is researching this subject we will publish your comments in hopes they will be of assistance.

 

More Shrubs Questions

Shrub with red two-globed berries
June 15, 2012 - I am looking for the name of a red berry with 2 globes attached to each other on a plant with small soft oval shaped leaves.I live in Maryland and they are maturing now. These bushes are in the park ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen shrubs native to North Georgia
March 26, 2007 - I am looking for native plants (shrubs) that will stay green during the winter in North Georgia. We are completing a xeriscape landscape plan as a demonstration site and have many native plants donate...
view the full question and answer

Overwatering and fertilization of whiteleaf manzanita
July 27, 2007 - Hi, I have an Arctostaphylos Dr. Hurd, southern California coast, several years old, 10 feet, that has a few large branches with yellowing and spotted leaves... also dropping many. causes? remedy? sh...
view the full question and answer

Puppy-friendly privacy screen in Montana
November 02, 2012 - I need some puppy-friendly short(< 30') privacy from the gigantic windows of my next door neighbor. But- there are power lines above the area that I needed to plant! I had planned on an aspen grove, ...
view the full question and answer

Will watering before a freeze protect an esperanza from a freeze from San Angelo, TX
November 22, 2013 - Would it help to lightly water esperanza before I cover it prior to freeze and/or sleet?
view the full question and answer

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