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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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Sunday - July 31, 2005

From: Dorchester, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Smarty Plants on Tamarisk
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Where can I buy Tamarisk, and will it survive in Massachusetts? I've seen it in Provincetown, on Cape Cod.

ANSWER:

None of the species of tamarisk, Tamarix spp., is native to North America. Tamarisk was imported to the US as an ornamental plant, but it has escaped from cultivation and become an environmental disaster in many parts of the country by overwhelming native vegetation and depleting precious groundwater. All species, including Tamarix parviflora which can be found in Connecticut and Massachusetts, are introduced and are listed by several states as an invasive noxious weed. Please read the Special Note from the University of Connecticut Plant Database. Perhaps you should consider a native tree as an alternative. The New England native, Northern Bayberry (Morella pensylvanica) has similar physical and cultural characteristics to tamarisk and has the advantages of not being invasive and having wonderfully fragrant foliage. You can find lists of nurseries by state or region in the National Suppliers Directory that specialize in native plants and learn what they might have available.
 

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