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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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Tuesday - March 10, 2009

From: SAN ANTONIO, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Source for non-native Bauhinia Blakeana
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I BOUGHT WHAT I THOUGHT WAS A HONG KONG ORCHID TREE ALMOST 2 YEARS AGO IN SAN ANTONIO, TX,.BUT IT TURNED OUT TO BE A WHITE ORCHID TREE.I AM SEEKING A NURSERY IN THE AREA THAT MAY HAVE SOME IN STOCK.THE PURPLE ONES. BAUHINIA BLAKEANA.

ANSWER:

Bauhinia variegata, Purple Orchid Tree, or Bauhinia purpurea, also called Purple Orchid Tree are both native to temperate and tropical Asia and therefore out of the range of expertise of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. We recommend the use of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being planted. Native plants will need less water, fertilizer and maintenance to thrive.We do have a list of Native Plant Suppliers, and some of them carry a small percentage of non-native plants, you could check with them.

Here are a couple of articles about Bauhinia, since we have no information on it in our Native Plant Database.  Floridata  on Bauhinia variegata and the USDA Forest Service on Bauhnia Purpurea.

 

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