En EspaŅol

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?


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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - September 21, 2008

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


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.


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 Seeds and Seeding Questions

Seeds of agave attenuata from San Diego CA
April 16, 2012 - After the agave attenuata bloom dried up there are seeds like thing hanging on the foxtail; do I leave it until it dies or do I chop that down. Are those seeds for propagation. The leaves of the plan...
view the full question and answer

Growing Texas bluebonnets in North Carolina
March 11, 2008 - I live in North Carolina and love the Texas Bluebonnets. Can I create my own mix of soil to be able to grow them here? Soil is basically red clay and icky.
view the full question and answer

Germinating Milkweed Seeds
January 23, 2015 - When is the best time to plant milkweed seeds outside? I was told when the overnight temperature hits 70 F. (our garden is in Lakeway, Texas). So around late May? Is this when the seeds germinate i...
view the full question and answer

Desmodium spp. (beggar's lice) in Leander TX
November 11, 2011 - Our home backs up to a greenbelt on Blockhouse Creek in Williamson County, Texas (FM 1431 and Parmer Lane). The combination of the flood and drought has left our beautiful greenbelt with an abundance...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on seed balls
September 27, 2005 - Do you have the recipe for Wildflower Seed Balls? It's where you mix dry wildflower seeds, compost, red clay, and water to form a seed ball and then you throw it. I think the ratio is 1 part seed, ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center