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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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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. 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Problems with non-native Cleyera in Georgia
September 30, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I had a landscaper plant 4 Cleyera around my front porch. I have had them for about 9 years now and they are very hardy, each one being about 4 feet in width, 5 feet high ...
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Identification of native blackhaw or non-native ligustrum in Austin
January 16, 2005 - I have a native tree in my yard, ca.15-20 feet tall, that has glossy, rounded dark leaves and small clusters of dark purplish berries. (It also has very weak limbs - perhaps grows too fast for its ow...
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Information about non-native tung tree
November 20, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a tree growing in my yard in North Austin which I can't identify. I have been told it is a 'tong' or 'tung' tree but can't find it in any reference books. It is de...
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Leaf problems on non-native Pachira aquatica
January 31, 2009 - I have a Pachira Aquatica. I have had it for 6 months and it has been thriving and growing very tall with nice leaves. Lately some of the leaves have become mottled yellowish green and fallen off. Ca...
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Shriveling agave from Miami Florida
August 23, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Most upset - My beautiful agave (wish I could have submitted an image) has stared to misbehave. The once first liquid filled leaves, are starting to look more like the skin ...
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