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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!

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Monday - May 07, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Shrubs
Title: Desert or littleleaf sumac (Rhus microphylla) on Texas State Capitol grounds
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am trying to find out what kinds of plants are planted on the Texas State Capitol Grounds. There is a bush that grows around the Capitol Extension windows area and I don't know what they are. The bush has a light-green color, almost like mint, and the bush has small white blossoms in the spring. I thought there was a book about Capitol plantlife, but I can't find one - not even in the Capitol Bookstore. Please help.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants made a special trip to the Texas State Capitol grounds to see this plant and is happy to report its identity, Rhus microphylla (littleleaf or desert sumac). It grows in rough dry habitats in the western half of Texas. The blossoms attract bees, deer browse its foliage, and its berries are eaten by birds and small mammals. With its many-branched foliage and red berries, it is a very handsome shrub.

 

 


Rhus microphylla

Rhus microphylla

Rhus microphylla

 

 

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