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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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Friday - August 14, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I am trying to identify a plant I saw this past weekend in San Diego, California. It was a low growing shrub planted along the road near a beach. The flowers looked like large star jasmine, leaves were bigger and tougher looking. It was thorny and had a red fruit that looked like large plums. Sorry I do not have a photo. Thank you for any information.


Well, Mr. Smarty Plants thinks your description sounds a lot like the plant we were recently asked to identify in a photo that we were sent.  The plant in the photo was  Carissa macrocarpa (Natal Plum). The gentleman who sent us the photo said the plant was growing in Baja California, but said the plant in the photo came originally from Santa Barbara, California.  It was introduced to Santa Barbara, however, since it is a South African native.  If this doesn't look like the plant you saw, let us know and we'll give it another try; however, without a photo it will be more difficult.






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