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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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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!

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Sunday - September 28, 2008

From: Iredell, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native Senna corymbosa
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a large Texas Senna tree - at least 7'x8'. It is covered in beautiful yellow blooms; however, it will need to be pruned in the winter. Please let me know how much to prune it and when is the best time to do so.

ANSWER:

There is a plant, Seymeria texana (Texas blacksenna), that is endemic to Texas, in a few Central and South Central Texas counties. (USDA Plant Profile county map) We couldn't even find any pictures of it except in our own Native Plant Database, see pictures below. It appears to be a weedy, semi-vine plant that grows in difficult areas, and we are pretty sure this is not the plant you are asking about.

We then went Googling on "Texas Senna Tree" and found this forum, Dave's Garden, where we learned that Senna corymbosa, Texas Senna Tree, is instead a native to Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. Retailers can, and do, put any name they choose on a plant, and apparently felt that naming this plant after Texas would make it more attractive to buyers.

Picture of Senna corymbosa from Dave's Garden.

While we would like to answer all questions we receive, Mr. Smarty Plants' expertise is limited to plant species native to North America, their habitats and cultivation. Limited resources require us to decline answering questions that delve into other areas. We hope you understand.We suggest you Google on the botanical name Senna corymbosa, where you may find some more information. 


Seymeria texana

Seymeria texana

Seymeria texana

 

 

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