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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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Wednesday - May 16, 2007

From: Charlottesville, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Sources for Paronychia virginica in Virginia
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Andrea Delong-Amaya

QUESTION:

Greetings, I noticed that you have Paronychia virginica for sale in your spring plant sale. Despite the plant sharing the name of my fair state, I've been unable to find a source for it. Given that it's unlikely that I'll be traveling down to your location anytime soon (even though I wish I could) do you happen to know a mail order source for it, or an ethical way to acquire seed?

ANSWER:

Even if you could have attended our Spring Plant Sale, it wouldn't have been a good idea for you to take a Texas Paronychia virginica (yellow nailwort) back to Virginia to grow. Even though plants from both areas are the same species, there would be variations in their genetic makeup which could cause them to be suitable for one area but not necessarily so for the other. Please read "Understanding the Importance of Genetics" for further explanation.

Paronychia virginica is listed as endangered in Georgia, is on the "Rare, Threatened and Endangered Plants" list in West Virginia, and on the list of State Protected Plants in Maryland. This is one reason you are having difficulty finding it in your area. You can search our National Suppliers Directory for nurseries and/or seed companies in your area that might have the plant for sale, but because of its rarity I doubt that there are any available for sale. Your best bet is to contact someone with the Virginia Native Plant Society to learn more about its status in your state. They may be involved in ongoing conservation activities for this plant that you could participate in.

 

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