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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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Sunday - March 27, 2005

From: Stahlstown, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Smarty Plants on native plant purchases
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am looking for an article(s), white paper, policy, etc. that addresses responsible native plant purchases. I have your genetics piece, but am looking for something more broad that addresses what a consumer should consider such as origin of plant - was it dug up in the Smokies or propagated from responsibly collected seed? Any suggestions in addition to your genetics piece...which, by the way, is excellent! Thanks.

ANSWER:

On the same page as "The Importance of Genetics" we have an article "Selecting a Suitable Supplier" which addresses some of the concerns you mention in your question. The North American Native Plant Society has a "Sources Guideline" for suppliers of native plants and seeds. On their home page click on "Plant Sources" in the side bar menu, then select "Sources Guidelines." Another similar statement, Local Ecotype Guidelines is on the web page for Wild Ones Natural Landscapers "a national not-for-profit organization with a mission to educate and share information with members and community at the "plants-roots" level and to promote biodiversity and environmentally sound practices." From the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, you can read The International Code of Conduct for Plant Germplasm Collecting and Transfer. You can also see the British/Irish take on the subject called Code of Practice for Suppliers of Native Flora.

 

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