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

Need information about broadcasting wildflower seeds in a pasture 70 miles east of Dallas, TX.
April 20, 2011 - We recently moved to upper east TX - 70 miles East of Dallas. I would like to broadcast wildflowers in our pasture. I'm assuming I'll need to wait until next fall, but not sure about that. Can you t...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower seeds that do well in black clay soil from Plano TX
November 21, 2013 - What native wildflower seeds do best in black clay soil? We live in Plano along creek w/ 8,000 sq. ft. in full sun. No manmade water source. Suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Spreading bluebonnets in pasture from Ledbetter TX
April 29, 2013 - I've found a small patch of bluebonnets in my back pasture in Ledbetter, tx. What is the best method of encouraging their spread across the pasture? I've heard that one can pull up the plants and ...
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnets in memorial garden in cemetery
April 11, 2008 - When is the peak time to scatter bluebonnet seeds? I have a loved one that recently died, and she requested that her body be cremated. She would like her ashes to be mixed with bluebonnet seeds and ...
view the full question and answer

Germination of Purple Clematis from Junction TX
October 31, 2013 - I have some Purple Leather Vine seeds I want to share and want help learning to germinate. Can anyone there help me find interested recipients?
view the full question and answer

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