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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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Thursday - March 27, 2008

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Possibly non-native succulent identification
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My mother has a plant that grows on a stalk, 2.5' tall, leaves are about 4-5" on the mature plant. The leaves are scalloped on the edges and seeds grown in the scallops & fall off and make new plants. The plant is very invasive. The flowers start forming in December and are light green, when they finally open they are coral colored bells that hang down toward the ground, they kind of look like an umbrella of coral bells. What is this called? I tried coral bell but it doesn't look like this plant.

ANSWER:

This sounds a lot like some kind of succulent. Since many succulents are not native to North America, it might not fall into our area of expertise, since the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is focused on the care and propagation of plants native to North America. We found a website from the Sonora Desert Museum on succulents that might help you get started. Ordinarily, succulents are not that invasive, but some are. Rather than try guessing, who don't you send us a digital picture, following the instructions on the lower right hand corner of the Mr. Smarty Plants page under "Plant Identification." Then, we'll see if some of our plant experts can figure out what it is.
 

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