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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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Wednesday - May 27, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Is there a purple passion hibiscus?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Hello! I bought a climbing vine in a hanging basket that looks like a passion flower vine to me. However, I was told that it was a "purple passion hibiscus." I cannot find such a flower on the internet. It hasn't bloomed yet, so I haven't seen the flower, but is there such a thing as a "purple passion hibiscus"? Thank you!

ANSWER:

When you Google "purple passion hibiscus", one of the  results takes you to a site  which offers a line of bedding for the baby nursery.

Further searching takes you to a site for Hibiscus rosa-sinensis or Rose of China. (see images). As the name implies, the plant is native to southern Asia which puts it outside our area of expertise. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center our focus is on the care and propagation of plants that are native to North America.

You didn't say where you bought this plant, but in my mind, Hibiscus and Passion Flower plants don't look anything alike. (Check the shapes of the leaves in the images below)

This sounds like an example of "buyer beware".


Passiflora incarnata

Hibiscus coccineus

 

 

 

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