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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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Saturday - August 09, 2014

From: Austin, TX
Region: Select Region
Topic: Plant Identification, Trees
Title: Tree that looks like cedar elm but with smooth bark
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What tree looks like a cedar elm, but has smooth bark?

ANSWER:

When you say that it looks like Ulmus crassifolia (Cedar elm) do you mean the leaves are the same shape and approximately the same size?  That is what I am assuming and I have 3 suggestions.  The first, I think, is the most likely:

Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum)  The leaves are almost the same shape, they are heavily veined and are toothed along the edges.  The trunk in mature plants is smooth, described as "satiny".

The other two are Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon) and Ilex decidua (Possumhaw).  They both have smooth trunks and their leaves, though not as heavily veined or toothed, are somewhat similar to cedar elm leaves.

If none of these trees is the one you think looks like the cedar elm and you have (or can take) a photo of it, please visit our Plant Identification page to find links to plant identification forums that accept photos for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


Mexican plum
Prunus mexicana

Mexican plum
Prunus mexicana

Mexican plum
Prunus mexicana

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Possumhaw
Ilex decidua

Possumhaw
Ilex decidua

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