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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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Saturday - April 18, 2009

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Deer resistant vegetables
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Are there any vegetables that are deer resistant? Squash, Watermelon, Corn, Chilies?

ANSWER:

Believe it or not, as All-American as those plants all seem, none of them are native to North America. Except for watermelon, Citrullus lanatus, which is native to Africa, all of them are believed to have originated in South or Central America, and were cultivated by native cultures and gradually passed on to North America. Not only that, but  just about all of those plants commercially available today are the results of many years of hybridization, which also remove them from the arena of native plants. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, our expertise and research is all about plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. In our Special Collections, we do have a list of Deer Resistant Species, but, again, this list has only native species.

By Googling on "deer resistant vegetable plants" we found some websites that might give you some information: Park Seed Co., Deer Resistant Plants; Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Deer Deterrents that Work, by Walter Chandoha. When you get right down to it, deer will eat anything that can't get away from them, especially when their regular forage is scarce or has been disturbed by urban development. 

 

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