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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!

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

 
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Monday - October 15, 2007

From: Fredericksburg, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of plant, probably Datura.
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We currently have in bloom a very leggy, about 2 foot high volunteer plant in Fredericksburg, TX that has a segmented stem, single large trumpet shaped flowers that stick straight up about 4 inches in a pale green pod and bloom into milky white flowers usually in the early evening, and that has a burr-covered seed pod with many individual small brown seeds inside. My friend called it a moon flower but no moon flower on the web even remotely looks like it. Any idea what plant this could be?

ANSWER:

This sounds like Datura wrightii (sacred thorn-apple), or at least one of the species of Datura. Other possibilites are Datura inoxia (Indian apple) and Datura stramonium (jimson weed), but your description sound most like D. wrightii. It is a Texas native and has been found in Gillespie County. The other two are introduced species but have also been found in, or very near, Gillespie County. Please note that all species of Datura are toxic, if eaten, to humans and other animals.

If none of these is your plant, please send us photos and we will be happy to try to identify it. For instructions on how to submit photographs, please visit the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page and read about "Plant Identifcation" in the lower right corner.


Datura wrightii

Datura wrightii

Datura wrightii

 

 

 

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