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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 - August 28, 2005

From: Greenville, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Fasciation on brown eyed Susan
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a flower in my garden that blooms every year. This year I have a very strange breed--there is a double flower. I do not know the name of the flower or what kind it is. I only know we nickname them brown eyed susans. It is yellow with a brown round center. The double flower has two brown centers like siamese twins. Is that unusual and can I dry the seeds from the flower? Thank you.

ANSWER:

This sounds like a case of fasciation, a plant developmental anomaly in which it appears that stems, flowers, leaves and/or fruits have been fused. It is uncertain whether it is genetically determined or caused by disease or some other sort of trauma to the plant. It does appear that there may be an inheritable tendency toward fasciation that may be triggered by environmental conditions such as temperature, crowding, insect attack, disease or wounding of the plant. So, the seeds you save may or may not produce fasciated plants next year. Here are some photos of fasciated flower heads and fasciated vegetables.
 

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