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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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Monday - June 30, 2008

From: Maracaibo, Venezuela
Region: Other
Topic: Non-Natives, Shrubs
Title: Plants looking similar to Camellia sinensis in Venezuela
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is there another plant that looks similar to the tea plant? I need to do a photoshoot of a tea plantation, but canīt really get to one, so I was wondering if there were other plants that at least look like it. thank you

ANSWER:

Since at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, our purpose is to encourage the growth and protections of plants native to North America, we're probably not going to be able to help you very much, since we don't know what will grow in Venezuela. In the United States we have maps showing the zones of temperature variation throughout the country, but do not have those resources for South America. According to this website from The Fragrant Leaf, The Tea Plant, all types of tea are made from Camellia sinensis, a plant that grows at cooler mountain altitudes. Here is a page of pictures of tea plantations and the plant itself. Camellias are native to southern Asia, and are widely grown in the southern United States, where they are considered a winter-flowering plant. Since, again, we have no idea what will grow in the area near you, and what plants similar to camellias that would include, we have no suggestions of other plants. Perhaps you should consider going to a company that specializes in photographs for sale and see if you can make arrangements to purchase the pictures you need.

 

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