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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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Friday - July 29, 2005

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Smarty Plants on Diospyros virginiana
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Diospyros virginiana (common persimmon) is, from what I understand, a host plant for the stunning Luna Moth caterpillar which supposedly can occur this far west. Your database entry for Diospyros doesn't mention its value as a host plant, so I'm wondering if that means either that it is not really a host, or that the Lunas don't really occur here at all. Can you help? Thanks for the great contribution you make to the community!

ANSWER:

You are absolutely right. The common persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) is a host plant for the beautiful Luna moth (Actias luna) caterpillar. Luna moths do occur in Austin, I've seen them myself. However, they are not very common since we are at the western edge of their range.

There are some D. virginiana trees along Waller Creek near the University, I know, but they aren't common in Austin either since we are also at the western edge of their range.

It is simply an oversight that this information doesn't occur in the Native Plants Database. We strive to make it as complete as possible, but our resources are limited and occasionally some important and/or interesting facts fail to be included in the entries.

 

From the Image Gallery


Common persimmon
Diospyros virginiana

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