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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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Monday - March 22, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflower Center, Shrubs, Trees
Title: When does Ziziphus obtusifolia leaf and flower in Austin?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello Mr. S.P., Do you know when the Texas buckthorn, Ziziphus obtusifolia (I believe), flowers (and leafs out) in Austin? Is there one at the Wildflower Center?

ANSWER:

According to our Native Plant Database, Ziziphus obtusifolia (lotebush) flowers yellow or green in March and April. While we found no information on the leafing out time, this article on the plant from the Texas Native Plant Database (Texas A&M) refers to its growing season as being from May through September, so you could assume that the leaves would appear by May, if not sooner. Many plants begin to flower before they leaf out, such as Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud), which is blooming now, in mid-March, in Central Texas. Lotebush is found growing naturally in numerous counties in West and Central Texas, but not in East Texas. From the page on this plant in our Native Plant Database, we extracted this information:

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX

 

From the Image Gallery


Lotebush
Ziziphus obtusifolia

Lotebush
Ziziphus obtusifolia

Lotebush
Ziziphus obtusifolia

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