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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 is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - April 24, 2007

From: Fairview, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Identification and replacement of chinaberry tree (Melia azedarach)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am trying to identify and locate a native tree. We live in Fairview, near Allen, Texas. It is in bloom now. It has fragrant small lavender 5 petal flowers in clusters. They develop into yellow/tan berries. Most years the berries from the previous year are falling when they bloom. We had one of this tree in our yard when we moved in. It has since died. It didn't get much larger than 15 - 20 feet tall. Every attempt to find out what it was, was answered with rather negative comments. I would like to replace it if I could find it. I have seen several blooming right now, but no one knows what it is called or where i could get one. Thanks.

ANSWER:

The tree you are describing sounds like the chinaberry tree, Melia azedarach. The chinaberry is a native of Asia and is a seriously invasive plant in the southeastern United States. Although it has attractive blossoms and appealing shape, it is very aggressive and tends to out compete native trees. Additionally, the berries are toxic to animals including humans. Mr. Smarty Plants hopes that you will consider replacing your chinaberry with an attractive native tree. Here are a few suggestions for Collin County Texas:

Styphnolobium affine (Eve's necklacepod)

Chilopsis linearis (desert willow)

Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum)

Ungnadia speciosa (Mexican buckeye)

Viburnum rufidulum (rusty blackhaw)

Prosopis glandulosa (honey mesquite)

Fraxinus texensis (Texas ash)


Styphnolobium affine

Chilopsis linearis

Prunus mexicana

Ungnadia speciosa

Viburnum rufidulum

Prosopis glandulosa

Fraxinus texensis

 

 

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