Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

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.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

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!

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

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Sunday - September 21, 2008

From: Chesapeake, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives, Seeds and Seeding
Title: Camellia seeds
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Smarty Plants; I have a Camellia plant that has bulbs that look like they could be fruit. And when this bulb opened, four or five little nuts came out. Are they fruit or nuts and can they be eaten or used for something else. These plants flower in the fall. Thank you very much for your time.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants’ expertise is limited to plant species native to North America, their habitats and cultivation.  There are two camellias native to North America, Stewartia malacodendron (silky camellia) and Stewartia ovata (mountain camellia), but I suspect that you are referring to either Camellia japonica (camellia) or  Camellia sasanqua (sasanqua camellia), both of which are native to China and Japan.

What you are referring to is the seed pod from last year's bloom—the structure shown in the lower left of this botanical drawing of Camellia japonica.  The little nuts are the seeds of the plant.  Mr. Smarty Plants certainly wouldn't recommend eating them even though these plants don't appear in the Poisonous Plants of North Carolina nor any of the other of our favorite toxic plant databases.  Since they are seeds, they have the potential to grow into new Camellia plants if you plant them.  However, since they are not native to North America, we really don't have any ready information about germination and propagation.  Mr. Smarty Plants recommends that you visit Tom Clothier's Garden Walk and Talk for information on germination and you can also search the internet for more information about seed germination and propagation.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Recovery of damaged fuchsia plant in hanging basket
July 23, 2007 - I had a beautiful fuchsia plant hanging on my porch. The hanger gave way and the plant fell straight down into another flower bed. The fuchsia seemed ok. I put it back in the pot put up new strong ...
view the full question and answer

Hurricane resistant alternatives to crape myrtle
September 02, 2007 - Are there any native small to medium trees (15-25 ft) to use instead of crapemyrtles (Lagerstroemia indica)? Crapemyrtles come in many colors and bend with hurricane winds instead of snapping or uproo...
view the full question and answer

Plants for under non-native fruitless mullberry trees from Ft. Worth TX
June 28, 2012 - I live in Tarrant county, where summer droughts are the norm. I have a 150x50 foot swathe of mature "fruitless mulberry" trees, which create a very shady atmosphere. The soil is clay dominated, ro...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Sago Palm from Bulverde TX
June 12, 2012 - My husband's job has taken him out of state and he left me in charge of his 27 year old sago palms, (house plants, sort of bonsai). They waited until he left and then quite perversely sprouted 3 foo...
view the full question and answer

Sturdiness of non- native poisonous oleanders
August 16, 2011 - We've seen a dozen different types of non-native plants in our yard perish in last winter's brutal freezes and this summer's record drought..which is good..except for the Oleanders, which nature ca...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.