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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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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 - September 24, 2007

From: Longview, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: American Bittersweet in east Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Does American Bittersweet vine grow in east Texas? It grows wild in Indiana and want to find it in our new location, Longview, Texas

ANSWER:

Sorry, but Mr. Smarty Plants hasn't been able to find evidence that Celastrus scandens (American bittersweet) has a distribution in East Texas. It has been reported in the Edwards Plateau and the Trans-Pecos regions of Texas and also in several locations in Oklahoma. Since the Oklahoma report says "this species probably occurs throughout the state, but it is inconspicuous during the plant-collecting season", it is certainly worth searching for this plant in suitable habitats near Longview; but, Mr. SP thinks you are going to have to travel north or west to have a chance to see it growing in the wild.

American bittersweet is being threatened in New York and Connecticut by Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental bittersweet), a nonnative look-alike. You can also see its status in other states.

To learn more about American bittersweet visit Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

 

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