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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 - June 23, 2009

From: Miami, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Information about non-native Night Blooming Jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, I have been trying to identify a shrub that has been in my backyard for many years, and I happened to come across your website. I was able to identify the plant as Night-Blooming Jasmine, but the only thing that's different in the description and picture is the fact that mine carries dark purple, almost black berries (or seeds). Is it possible that it's the same plant, or in the same family? I found a new plant growing on the other end of the backyard. Obviously it reproduces by itself. Your help will be appreciated. Thanks.

ANSWER:

Cestrum nocturnum (night blooming jasmine) is not native to North America.  It is native to tropical America and the West Indies. Our focus and expertise at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is with plants native to North America so your plant is not really in our purview.  I can tell you that there are many other species in the genus Cestrum and it is possible that you have one of the other species.  You can see photos of the different species on the picsearch site.  I suggest that you visit the UBC Botanical Garden Forums and post your question there.  Their readers are very knowledgeable in non-native ornamental plants and may have an idea about which species you have.

 

 

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