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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

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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Monday - March 30, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Are Texas mallows the source of marshmallows?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Did marshmallows that we eat originate from our native Texas mallow plants?

ANSWER:

No, but you're on the right track!  The origin of marshmallows as we know them today is not known with certainty, but the source is believed to be Althaea officinalis, Marsh mallow or Common marsh-mallow, a native of Africa and Europe.  The pith of this plant, mixed with sugar and cooked, was used in early marshmallow recipes.

 

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