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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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Thursday - January 27, 2005

From: The Netherlands, Other
Region: Other
Topic: Non-Natives, Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Smarty Plants on Kokias
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am searching for seeds of different Kokias (Kokia cookei, K. drynariodes and K. kauaiensis) and Thespesias (Thespesia grandiflora, T. thespesioides, T. nerifolia and T. populnea). Perhaps there are other Kokias and Thespesias. Can you help me, please? Perhaps you know other people or botanical gardens who can help me. I am living in Holland and have a greenhouse.

ANSWER:

One of the species of Thespesia (T. grandiflora, common name "maga") is native to Hawaii and one (T. populnea, Portia tree) grows in Florida and Hawaii, but is not native. Its origin is India. T. thespesiodes or T. nerifolia are not native to the U. S. The three Kokias, treecottons, (Kokia cookei, K. drynariodes and K. kauaiensis) as well as K. lanceolata are all natives of Hawaii. K. drynariodes is considered endangered in Hawaii and K. cookei is even rarer so it may be difficult to find seeds of these. K. kauaiensis is also listed as endangered but in somewhat better shape than the other two. K. lanceolata became extinct in the late 1800s or 1900s.

Since all these species are native or grow in Hawaii, you might have success in locating seeds by contacting arboreta such as Lyon Arboretum at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and botanical gardens in Hawaii.

 

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