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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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Friday - January 30, 2009

From: St. Petersburg, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Leaves on non-native Rose Cactus
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a Rose Cactus (Pereskia grandifolia). The leaves have all dropped off. I was wondering if this is normal in the winter. Also, is the pear shaped fruit edible.

ANSWER:

Pereskia grandifolia (Rose cactus) is native to Brazil, and therefore not in our area of expertise at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. We did learn that the leaves normally drop off in Winter, but could not find any reference to the edibility of the fruit. It apparently is very fast-growing and can be invasive. We found this website, Rose Cactus from Desert Tropicals, which might give you more information.
 

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