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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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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.

Questions From Near You

Lakewood , OH
Texas smoketree
Does a smoketree grow in Texas? How can I identify it?
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Lakewood, OH
Precautions to take with Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum
Are there precautions to take, such as wearing gloves while separating the seeds from the Jack In The Pulpit berries. The photos I have seen have gloved hands. I've read that the plant is toxic if in...
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Lakewood, OH
Native Backyard for Lakewood OH
I would like to do away with the lawn in my backyard in favor of native plants that would require minimal maintenance, including flowering plants that would encourage pollinators.
view the full question and answer

Cleveland Heights, OH
Is Gooseneck native from Cleveland Heights OH
I live in Cleveland Heights, OH, and have an abundance of gooseneck in my yard. Is it a native plant? Thank you!
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Parma, OH
Eradication of invasive thistles in Parma OH
Lawn is full of prickly weeds with very deep roots. May be called Scotch Thistle, although id is not confirmed. They will grow as tall as they can amid other plants, and when mowed in the lawn, they...
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Shaker Heights, OH
Food value of cultivars of eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
Can you suggest any resources regarding the wildlife value of native plant cultivars? For example, I can only buy an eastern red Cedar cultivar in my region: "Burkii" or "Emerald Sentinel". I w...
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Shaker Heights, OH
Plants for erosion control on steep bank in Ohio
Another erosion question: We bought a place a year and a half ago with a stream/road run off at the back of our property. The southern exposure bank is quite high, I'm guessing 12 feet and therefor...
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Shaker Heights, OH
Pollinator plants for Ilex verticillata (winterberry)
How close do a male and female common winterberry need to be to produce berries. We bought a male and female last year and attracted cedar wax wings. Amazing show. We just bought two more females a...
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Rocky River, OH
Plants for a windbreak on a slope in OH
Have property at the top of a valley with a steep drop off. Would like to know native to NE Ohio ground covers, grasses perennials, and not too tall trees for windbreak that will prevent erosion. The ...
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Parma Hts, OH
Seedlings from established plants in Parma Hts., OH
I have 20 yr old shrubs and hedges along my back yard. I don't know their variety. How do I keep the seedlings from encroaching in my lawn? The seedlings have sprouted 3 feet into the lawn. Any ide...
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Mayfield Village, OH
Advocacy of non-native plants.
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Instead of asking a question, I would like to comment on the seemingly discouraging tone on growing plants or trees out of their native habitat that I have observed from rea...
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Eastlake, OH
Growth rate of Thuja occidentalis
What is the growth rate of thuja occidentalis? I have found web sites and books claiming slow to fast.
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Kirtland, OH
Identity of plant with cluster of bell-shaped flowers and 2 leaves
In Kirtland, Ohio. Clay soil. Woodsy, moist area. Stem sticks up about 6 inches; stem is bare except for top inch, where 2 leaves and cluster of white drooping bell-like flowers appear. Ball-shaped ...
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Kirtland, OH
More information on coltsfoot in Rindge NH
I wanted to give input regarding the query from Barbara Medford about: Coltsfoot invasive in Rindge NH Tuesday - July 21, 2009. I think it likely that the coltsfoot she described is Tussilago farfara...
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Hudson, OH
Plants for a sunny sloped roadside in Ohio
I am looking for a solution to a slope that cannot be easily mowed. Our yard is flat until you get about 15 feet from the road at which point it angles up to a small 5 foot area next to the road. I ...
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Hudson, OH
Poisonous plant in Ohio with hydrangea-like flower
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I was sure that I had read that there is a poisonous bush that is native to Ohio that has flowers something like a white hydrangea..or was it queen ann's lace? I believe the ...
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Elyria, OH
Growing non-native bay leaf plant from Elyria OH
I was wondering if the bay leaf plant is native and how hard it is to grow? I am so tired of buying expensive bay leaf in the store and want to do it myself.
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Cuyahoga Falls, OH
Plant identification
Large leaf plant over 5 feet tall red stems and purple almost black flat berries in large clumps. Any idea?
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Cuyahoga Falls, OH
Website with map showing occurence of species
Hello and thank you so much for this amazing site and all the information you provide. Recently after reading about some really neat species on here I ended up surfing the net for pictures and somehow...
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Chardon, OH
Small white bugs on indoor hibiscus in Ohio
My Hibiscus has small white bugs on the leaves with small white residue. Looks like very small pieces of white rice. This white rice is also covering the UNOPENED buds and making them fall off. It ...
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Chardon, OH
Native plants for Ohio with common name beginning with U, X or Z
Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, Are there any plants native to Ohio or the Northeast that have common names starting with the letter "U" "X" or "Z"? I'm sewing a cross-stitch sampler using the alphabet ...
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