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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!

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Thursday - May 01, 2008

From: Sault Ste Marie, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Information on Royal Empress tree
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Would like to have some information on the royal empress tree; it is a non-native tree.

ANSWER:

As a non-native, the Royal Empress Tree is not in our Native Plant Database. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we concentrate on plants native to North America. However, Paulownia tomentosa is not only non-native but is considered invasive in many parts of the country. That we ARE interested in. For some background, here is a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer concerning this tree. There are a number of links in that previous answer to give you information on care, etc. As you can no doubt tell, we are NOT in favor of planting invasive trees. The USDA Plant Profile does not show it as growing in Michigan; the state may just be too far north, but it does grow in some northeastern states, so possibly it could survive Michigan winters. But do you want it to?
 

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