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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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Thursday - April 03, 2008

From: Morehead City, NC
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native fruit trees for eastern North Carolina
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Are there any good fruit trees to grow in eastern North Carolina? For example peaches, apples, plums? What are your recommendations? Thank you!

ANSWER:

Unfortunately for native plant aficionados, which we are at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, most food crops are either non-native in origin or have been so hybridized that they are no long considered native. Apples originated in Asia, so even the legendary Johnny Appleseed must have had seeds brought from Europe. Prunus persica is a species of Prunus native to China that bears an edible juicy fruit called a peach. There are several species of Prunus native to North America that produce edible plums, but only two of them are distributed naturally in North Carolina: Prunus americana (American plum) and Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum). Even these native plums are difficult to find in cultivation, and are often used as rootstock for hybridizing. We found this website on Carteret County Tree Facts; page down to "Information Sources" and find an e-mail address for North Carolina Cooperative Extension where you can ask for the list of native and highly adapted trees, shrubs and perennials that grow in Carteret County. The same website does go on to list the trees.


Prunus americana

Prunus mexicana

Prunus mexicana

 

 



 

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