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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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Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

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Wednesday - August 13, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Can you identify a shrub in my backyard? It has odd looking seed pods with three chambers and hard black seeds inside roughly 1/8" in diameter. The pods themselves are brown, hard shell, and hang down, splitting at the bottom to drop seeds. I can email a photo if helpful. Thanks!


This sounds like Ungnadia speciosa (Mexican buckeye) except for the size of the seeds. In Mexican buckeye the seeds are ± 1/2 inch in diameter. If this isn't what you have in your backyard. Please send us photos showing the whole plant and a closeup of the seeds and of the leaves. Visit the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page to read the instructions (under "Plant Identification") for submitting photos. 

Ungnadia speciosa

Ungnadia speciosa

Ungnadia speciosa

Ungnadia speciosa



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