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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!

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Saturday - April 19, 2008

From: Lancaster, KY
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of orange hydrangea-like flower
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am trying to identify a tree...It is a tree like bush if that makes any sense...It has tree limbs and it is bushy like a bush...I thought it might be a hydrangea bush that grows straight up instead of wide...I'll describe it as best I can... It has tree limbs like a tree but is bushy like a bush...it has little to no stump as it spreads out right from the ground or at least a foot or so from the ground...The leaves are green tree like leaves...and the thing about it is that it produces these beautiful orange singular flowers(not in bunches and they are orange, NOT reddish or yellowish, bright ORANGE) about the size of your palm all over the tree...They seem to be able to get any where from 15'-20' or more tall...and it is NOT in bloom at this time...(Friday, April 18, 2008) The orange flowers are what throw me off...I have yet to be able to find an Orange blooming Hydrangea bush anywhere and all the ones I have seen the flowers are in bunches...and no one I have talked to say they have ever seen one...Then I thought it might be a Hibiscus...but I seen one of those at Lowe's this week and it's definately not it...So I thought I would ask you to see if you could give me any ideas...Please help if you can...Thanks

ANSWER:

Although you gave us a very good description, we're still stumped on what this plant might be. It seems likely that it is a non-native sub-tropical plant, which puts it out of the range of our expertise. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we concentrate on plants native to North America. However, we do try to help out when we can on plant identification. Please go to the Mr. Smarty Plants page and follow the directions in the lower right-hand corner of the page for sending us a photograph, and we'll see what we can do.
 

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