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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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Wednesday - May 21, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Edible Plants, Trees
Title: Citrus trees for Austin
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am looking for citrus that grows in the Austin,Tx area. Could you offer any suggestions please?

ANSWER:

Citrus trees (lemons, oranges, grapefruits, etc.) are members of the Family Rutaceae (Rue Family). These ones you are familiar with had to start somewhere with native trees (southeast Asia), but now are highly cultivated plants. Indeed, none of their direct ancestors were native to Central Texas or, for that matter, North America. You can see some of the other members of the Family Rutaceae that are native to North America. Since our focus and expertise here at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center are with plants native to North America, we can't really give you much guidance on what citrus trees will do well in Austin. However, I do know of people who have lemon trees growing in a protected area in Austin so I suggest that you contact the Travis County Agricultural Extension Office to see if they have suggestions. Skip Richter is the Travis County Extension Agent. Also, visit the Central Texas Horticulture page for information about growing ornamental and garden plants, native and non-native, in Austin.

 

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