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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers Nan Hampton, Jimmy Mills and Barbara Medford to be the culpable and capable parties. Yet, others think staff members Damon Waitt, Joe Marcus and Philip Hawkins might 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

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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Questions From Near You

Colton, OR
Deer-resistant native plants for Oregon
I have 21 acres of timber property in Oregon. We are converting part of that property to residential and I would like to plant wild flowers. I want to make sure I only plants native to Oregon and wo...
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Canby, OR
Non-native, invasive peanut butter tree from Canby, OR
I too have a peanut butter tree with the pink and white blooms, its about 5 years old and is beautiful, but 2 weeks ago it started wilting and losing all its leaves, I am afraid it is dying. Can I sav...
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Oregon City, OR
200 year old white oak with no acorns in Oregon City OR
We have a white oak tree in our yard that is about 200 yrs old. We have lived in the house for 30+ years, and have never seen an acorn. We have had it pruned by an arborist, who said it is in good...
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Oregon City, OR
Non-native peanutbutter tree suckering in Oregon City OR
I have a beautiful 'peanutbutter tree' in my yard. I have noted that there are plantlets coming up that appear to be attached to the main root(s) of the tree. I have been breaking them off as I don...
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Aurora, OR
Plant identification
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, (love the name), I have found a plant in my yard. Underground it looks like a green onion, above ground it has a broad leaf, a thin 8-12 inch stalk and the top 2" of the stalk...
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West Linn, OR
Skin irritation caused by blanket flower (Gaillardia sp.)
Could you tell me whether it is the leaves or the spent flower heads, the seed heads, that cause irritation to bare legs after walking through a field of Indian Blankets? Gallardia I believe is the La...
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West Linn, OR
Plant with orange berries in Oregon
I have a viney type plant that hangs down over and along a rock wall at my house in Portland, that is producing an orange colored berry. What is it? Is it edible? My neighbor just tried one and he ...
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Sandy, OR
How to care for blueberries in Oregon
New to oregon and to blueberry bushes - can you tell me the proper way to care for them - location-sandy, Oregon and unsure of which type of blueberry they are thank you
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Lake Oswego, OR
Viability of Juniperus ashei for making furniture
My husband uses juniper from Oregon to make beautiful furniture. Underneath the ugly bark is a wonderful wood. Is this the same Juniper as we saw all around Austin, Texas.
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Tualatin, OR
Was my grandmother growing a Honeysuckle Bush in Middleton, Idaho?
I would like to know the name of the flowering bush that grew in the backyard of my grandmother's house in Middleton, Idaho. I remember it to be purple in color and had petals with what I used to ca...
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Gresham, OR
Is Cerinthe major toxic to cats in Gresham, OR
Hi, I was wondering about whether a specific plant was poisonous or not specifically to cats.. I've done a lot of searching and can't find anything on whether or not this plant is considered toxi...
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Portland, OR
Grape Vines and spacing for Portland, OR
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a somewhat small south-facing yard next to my home (less than 8' wide). I would like to build a tall arbor for grapes that runs along the length of my home (about 4...
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Portland, OR
Flower with spike of yellow flowers with hairy purple filaments
Fuzzy purple stamens! I can't find this plant identified anywhere. Blooms abt 1" or a little more across. 5 yellow petals, 5 sepals, & 5 stamens with yellow anthers, & the filaments are covered wi...
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Portland, OR
Spreading Poison Oak to Clothes and Shoes
I had a poison oak rash about 2 years ago and during that time I had to attend a wedding. At the wedding I wore a pair of dress shoes and a pair of cowboy boots. Can I wear these shoes again? Is there...
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Portland, OR
Alleotrophic effects of caffeine found in Ilex species
I'm doing research for my biology class on the alleotrophic effects of caffeine. I'm planning to use Ilex vomitoria as the caffeine-producing plant. As the control I want to use another non-c...
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Portland, OR
Nativity of Bidens frondosa from Portland OR
Is Bidens frondosa (Beggar's Tick) native to North America or is it introduced? If introduced, is it considered invasive?
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Portland, OR
Rubber (latex) in Balloon plant (Asclepias physocarpa)
I need milkweed leaves that contain rubber. The common milkweed species Asclepias syriaca has rubber in it. Do the milkweed of Balloon plant milkweed (Asclepias physocarpa) contain rubber?
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Portland, OR
Plants to tumble over a retaining wall in OR
Please recommend plants that I could use to plant on the ground space above a 4 foot high, 150 foot long unattractive concrete wall that would grow over and down to cover the wall. The area is very sh...
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Portland, OR
Walnut tree root coming through basement floor in Portland, OR
I have a walnut tree root coming through my basement floor. I need advice as to what will it do to tree when I remove the root, like another root though a different part of my home. It is a large tree...
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Portland, OR
Leaf burn on hydrangeas
What causes my leaves to burn on my healthy hydrangeas?
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Portland, OR
Trees for traffic buffer in Portland OR
Hi, saw the question about small space plants. On this topic, our street in Portland OR is looking for a fast growing, 20-30 ft tree that can go in a 12" wide parking strip along our road (we have ma...
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