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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!

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Tuesday - May 04, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Best for Austin-non-native loquat or kumquat?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I was wondering which tree is suited better in the Austin,TX, area, the Loquat or the Kumquat, do they lose their leaves in the winter and do they bear fruits?

ANSWER:

You will get answers to some of your questions on the Kumquat from this Floridata website Fortunella spp. It originated in southern China and is cultivated in sub-tropic areas. It is considered hardy from USDA Hardiness Zones 8 to 10; Austin is in Zone 8b.

Also from Floridata, this article on Loquat, Eriobotrya japonica, has the information that it is native to  southeastern China and Japan. It is hardy from Zones 7 to 10, but only bears fruit in frost-free areas.

As to which is best for the Austin area, you are the best judge of that. We, of course, would rather you planted trees native to Central Texas. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use, preservation and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. You will find there are very few food plants that are considered native. Not only are their origins often not in North America, but they have been hybridized or grafted so many times that their parentage would be unrecognizable. 

 

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