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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 - June 26, 2008

From: Rosharon, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Identification of possible Bald cypress
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I live in the Houston area, last year we traveled to South Padre Island and,on the way, I noticed a tree that was just beautiful. It looked like a cross between a Norfolk pine and some kind of cycads. It grew very tall and straight up. The branches were straight out and the dark green leaf resembled the cycads. I am stumped; I see them in Houston now, but no one I ask knows the name.


This sounds like Taxodium distichum (bald cypress), a native of Texas. Although the cypress is considered a water tree, bald cypress adapts to dry landscapes, providing shade, shelter for birds and is very attractive. It is called "bald" because it is deciduous, dropping its leaves in the Fall, as very few other conifers do. If this is not the tree you have been seeing, perhaps you could provide us with a photograph and we will try to identify it. Go to the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page and find the directions for sending us photos in the lower right hand area of the page under "Plant Identification."

Taxodium distichum

Taxodium distichum

Taxodium distichum

Taxodium distichum



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