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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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
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Monday - October 01, 2007

From: Lawton, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Fungi in the flower bed
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Found a strange thing in my flower bed, while tilling. It was egg shape, white, with a little purple, soft but tough like leather on the outside, with a small 2 inch root. Curiosity got me so I cut it open. Full of clear gel very slimmy and a hard brownish green center ball. Cut hard center open brown on inside with black dot in center. Looked more like some embryo than plant. Any idea. Thank you.

ANSWER:

From your description, it sounds like you've found a developing puffball fungus.  Since fungi are non-vascular plants, they are outside our area of expertise.  However, they are fascinating.  A good place to start an investigation of fungi would be on the Wikipedia site.  You will probably find Tom Volk's Fungi website particularly useful.
 

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