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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 - July 21, 2009

From: Springtown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Identity of a plant that may be a horse apple (Maclura) in Springtown, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have a tree that I think is a crab apple, however, I can't find it in any collection on internet. The fruit looks like light green colored apples, however, they are very hard and very course textured on the outside. You would not want to eat them, they are so tough you could not eat them. The tree is about 30 ft. tall and the leaves are around 5" long with smooth scalloped sides and a pointy tip. The leaves are soft and not waxy. Please tell me what this is, I need the scientific name, also. Is this tree native to Texas? Thank you for your time.

ANSWER:

Generally is is very difficult if not impossible for us to identfy a plant from a written description, but you have given  enough clues that Mr. Smarty Plants is going to guess that you have a bois d'arc tree,  Maclura pomifera (osage orange). This Texas Native has a long and interesting history of use in Texas.

Compare your tree with the images on this University of Connecticut site to confirm the identification. If I guessed wrong, go to our Plant Identification page and follow the directions for sending us a photo of your plant. Once we have that, we can give it another try.

 

 

 

 

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