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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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Sunday - August 17, 2008

From: Gatlinburg, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives
Title: List of North American plants grown in other countries
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am working on a childrens story and would like to let the teachers who read this book know where some of the native plants in my book grow throughout the world, or if they grow outside of the USA. plants of interest are: Jack in the pulpit,Turtlehead, red trillium( stinking Will or Benjamin)\r\nWild Rose ( Multiflora) ...Mary Phillips

ANSWER:

That's an extremely interesting question, and sounds like a neat idea for a children's book. However, we are gardeners, not research librarians, and it doesn't look like we can help you much. Our research mostly has to do with plants native to North America, their care, preservation and propagation. We do answer questions on non-native plants, but these are questions on their care. We can go to our own Native Plant Database and discover what states a particular plant is native to, get information on care, size, etc. and then follow links to Internet sites with more information on that particular plant. What we do not have (and suspect does not exist) is a list of North American natives that are naturalized in other countries. We might make a suggestion to give you a start on finding this information for yourself. We went to our Native Plant Database and searched on Jack in the pulpit. We got a list of 6 members of the Arisaemas genus that are native to North America. We then Googled on "Arisaema" and found a website for the International Aroid Society. We didn't search any further, but there appeared to be a number of links that took you to more information. It seems that most plants have some sort of international society, and it should lead you in the right direction. In summary, you need first to know if the plant is native to North America, then you find out the genus name, then search on that until you find the sort of information you are looking for. We suspect that by doing this research on your own, you may very well run across some other possibilities you hadn't even thought of, or learn that what is considered an insignificant plant (or weed) in North America is a treasured garden jewel on another continent. Or terribly invasive somewhere else.

 

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