Roots, Shoots, Fruits & Flowers: Garden Rice, Sweet Autumn Clematis, Raccoon Grape, & an Attractive Shade Plant.


A grain head from a garden rice plant. Photo: Trish Cook Taylor, Urania, LA.

Garden Rice

One of the enjoyable aspects of this column is to hear affirmations from readers and to learn about unique gardening experiences. Trish shares both an affirmation and a surprising outcome in her garden, “I really enjoy all the info in your Roots n Shoots articles, and all the email you send too. Know that it is greatly appreciated.

Every year I use rice straw as mulch in my garden, and this year some of the grains sprouted and I have volunteer rice. This may be a common thing in Louisiana, but I have never heard of it. I think that I will save the grains and plant them next year.”

One of the possible benefits of growing garden rice is attracting birds. That birds will explode from eating wedding rice is an urban legend, and this myth has no merit. Dr. Ashley Long, AgCenter Wildlife Specialist, confirmed, “Yes, that is a myth – birds will not explode if they eat rice (raw or instant).”


Sweet autumn clematis, a native plant from Japan. Photo: Jacalyn Duncan, Master Gardener.

Sweet Autumn Clematis

Jackie sent a couple of images and asked, “What is the name of these 2 vines? Thanks.”

This is a type of clematis, and it has several different names, Japanese clematis, or sweet autumn clematis, or sweet autumn virgin’s bower. According to the Wisconsin Master Gardener website, “Because Japanese clematis aggressively self-seeds and has escaped cultivation in many parts of the US to invade forest edges, rights-of-way and areas along streams and roads, it is often considered an invasive species – particularly in the East and Midwest – and is no longer recommended as a landscape plant in many states.”

If Japanese clematis is a problem in a landscape, the University of Florida recommends these treatments, “Current chemical-control methods include foliar applications of triclopyr amine (e.g. 2-3% Garlon 3A) and triclopyr ester (e.g. 15% Garlon 4 oil) for basal-bark applications. Either formulation, applied to cut stump, is effective in controlling the plant. Foliar application of glyphosate (e.g. 3% Roundup) provides good, but short-term control. For basal-bark applications, be sure to locate where the vine is rooted. Clematis vines will sometimes grow up one tree, trail back down to the ground, and climb up another tree.”


Raccoon grape, a native vine of the United States. Photo: Jacalyn Duncan, Master Gardener.

Raccoon Grape

Jacalyn has a vine called “raccoon grape”, a native vine. The Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States makes this observation that raccoon grape “is a perennial climbing vine in the grape family, but its fruit is not edible. It is native to the southeastern United States.”


Queen of Hearts Brunnera. Photo: Vicki Buckhalter. Master Gardener.

Attractive Shade Plant

Vicki shared a nice email with an attractive image, “I started a shade garden this spring -- my first ever in this yard of mine that's almost entirely sunny. I ordered this plant, not knowing at the time that this is the first year it has been on the market. So far, I am quite pleased with it. The plant does bloom, but, of course, did not bloom for me this first year.”

“This is the Queen of Hearts Brunnera. I have ordered, for fall planting, several other varieties of Brunnera to add to my shade garden. I'm looking forward to seeing what they'll do next year.” Horticulturists consider Brunnera a low maintenance, perennial plant for shade.

If you want to contact Roots, Shoots, Fruits and Flowers, please send your questions and pictures to Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 337-463-7006 or Also, you can be on the “green thumbs” email list by emailing your request to the address above.

“Before you buy or use an insecticide product, first read the label, and strictly follow label recommendations. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by Louisiana State University AgCenter.”

“This work has been supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Renewable Resources Extension Act Award, Accession Number 1011417.”

8/26/2020 3:00:40 PM
Rate This Article:

Have a question or comment about the information on this page?

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture