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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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
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Wednesday - August 19, 2009

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Groundcover called Jumping Jacks
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

My neighbor has a beautiful ground cover and she doesn't know the name and I have searched the nurseries and internet and can not find it. She says it spreads like crazy and when she was young they called it Jumping Jacks. I think she is originally from Ohio. It is viney and can crawl over rocks. It puts out a tiny white flower with a blue/purple cross in the middle. What is it?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants found one low-growing flower called Jumping Jack Viola , or Johnny-Jump-Up.  It is a European native but is used extensively in gardens in North America.  There are several versions of it: a maroon version and a yellow version, pale lavender, orange, pure whitewhite and purple, and white with purple markings.  There are even more different varieties that you can find by searching Google images using its botanical name. 

If this doesn't happen to be the plant your neighbor has, please send us photos and we will do our very best to identify it.  Visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page to read the instructions for submitting photos.

 


 

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