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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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Sunday - September 30, 2007

From: Prescott, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identifcation and wants to know about weeds
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

My son planted some seeds in pots before he left and I don't know if I am watering weeds/plants??? One plant has green & red (lateral) striped stalks with something on the end that to me from Texas looks likes cacaburrs...(please forgive spelling). I may contact you later for the others but this bothers me now. Also, true/false, a weed is easy to uproot (pulling)? I tugged a little and got nothing.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is sorry, but identifying a plant by description alone is almost impossible to do. If you would like to send a photo, though, he will do his very best to tell you what you have. You can find instructions for submitting photos on the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page in the lower right corner under "Plant Identification".

Now, as for weeds, one person's weed may be another person's wildflower. For instance, some people think Cirsium texanum (Texas thistle) is a beautiful wildflower and others consider it a noxious weed. The best definition for a weed that I know is: "A weed is a plant growing somewhere you don't want it to grow." Since weeds can be any sort of plant, they aren't necessarily easy to pull up—it would depend on their size, what kind of roots they have, the type of soil the plant is in and the moisture content of the soil.

 

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