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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.

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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.

 
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Tuesday - July 29, 2014

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a plant in my yard about 3' high, narrow pointy smooth leaves covered with small berries that are turning purple. What is this? a weed? should I eliminate it from my xeriscape garden or welcome it?

ANSWER:

From your description I have two possible suggestions.  Perhaps I should say, rather, that they are guesses.  One is Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) and the other is Phytolacca americana (American pokeweed).  Both have leaves that are narrower than they are long and both produce purple-colored berries.

If neither of these is your plant, please photograph it and visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants for identification.  Be sure to read the "Important Notes" about taking photos of the plant.

Whether you eliminate or not is your choice.  If you like the way it looks, unless it is considered an invasive plant, there is no reason to remove it.

 

From the Image Gallery


American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

American pokeweed
Phytolacca americana

American pokeweed
Phytolacca americana

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