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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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Wednesday - September 03, 2008

From: Alexandria, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Locating source for Iva frutescens
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Do you know where I can purchase the plant Iva Frutescens, sometimes called the Miracle Bush or Jesuit's bark? Do you know if this bush attracts Monarch Butterflies?

ANSWER:

Iva frutescens (Jesuit's bark) is native to North America and to Virginia. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we recommend only plants native to the area in which they grow naturally, as plants adapted to an area will require less water, fertilizer and maintenance. Since our webpage on this plant has no pictures available, here is a page of pictures of Iva frutescens.Our webpage says it is "An attractive shrub for wet, salty areas that will support little other vegetation. Requires little to no care but can be pruned and shaped regularly." While it apparently does attract birds, we found no indication that it attracted any butterflies, including the Monarch. This website from the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Natives has some more information on the plant they refer to as Marsh Elder or High Tide Bush. 

The best we could find out, Iva frutescens (Jesuit's bark) is raised by a few small nurseries. Go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type in your town and state name in the Enter Search Location box and you will get a list of native plant seed companies, nurseries and landscaping consultants in your general area. They will have web addresses, phone numbers and addresses so you can contact them in search of the plant. 

 

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