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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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
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Tuesday - May 19, 2009

From: Adamsville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I found a large shrub/tree behind an old building on my place. It has small smooth oval leaves 3/4-1 inch; x 1/2 inch, small somewhat clusters of a blue fruit 1/4-1/2 inch diam with one seed in it. Can you identify. I live about 65 miles north of Austin Kathy

ANSWER:

Here are three possibilties for your mystery tree:

1.  Ligustrum sinense (Chinese privet) is non-native and is considered to be an invasive species.

2.  Forestiera pubescens (stretchberry or elbowbush) is a large bush or small tree that grows up to 12 feet tall.  Here are more photos that show the fruits better. The fruits are blue.

3.  Styphnolobium affine (Eve's necklacepod) grows to 15 to 30 feet and here is another set of photos under its synonym, Sophora affinis.  The seeds are more black than blue.

If none of these look like the tree that you saw, please send us photos and we will do our best to identify it.  Visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page to read instructions for submitting photos.

 

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