En Español

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - May 16, 2010

From: Buckeye, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Edible Plants, Trees
Title: Fruit trees for Buckeye AZ
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I am moving to Buckeye Az from Utah and would like to know what type of fruit trees I can grow. Thanks!


With the exception of a few members of the Prunus species, which grow wild in North America, most of the "food" plants, like fruits and vegetables, that you would ordinarily find in a grocery store, are not native to North America. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. The foods you find in your produce market are mostly native to other parts of the world, and/or have been so extensively hybridized their parentage would be unrecognizable.

There are two species of the Prunus genus native to Arizona. The first is Prunus americana (American plum). The plums are eaten fresh and used in jellies and preserves, and are also consumed by many kinds of birds. The other is Prunus emarginata (bitter cherry); as the common name indicates, the fruit is not edible.  The seeds of all Prunus species, found inside the fruits, contain poisonous substances and should never be eaten. In addition, the leaves, especially withered ones, twigs and branches are toxic, making it not a very good landscape tree.

So, since we can't help you, we suggest you contact the Arizona Cooperative Extension Office of Maricopa County, Arizona. Extension offices usually have lists of plants that do well in their area, including food plants, and do not restrict themselves to native plants. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

Prunus americana

Prunus emarginata





More Non-Natives Questions

Growing Citrus Trees in Glendora CA
August 16, 2012 - We're considering moving to Glendora, CA (from the East Coast) and wondered if it is possible to successfully grow orange and other citrus trees that far inland? Any advice you can offer will be muc...
view the full question and answer

Oak leaf fall causing ivy damage
August 28, 2007 - I read the A/Q in the Austin American-Statesman Saturday, August 25, regarding the leaves falling now from the live oaks. I am experiencing the same thing, but it is the leaves of my post oaks that a...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Silver lace vine invasive from Ft. Davis TX
July 29, 2011 - Is silver lace vine invasive?
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for a privacy screen besides Murray Cypress.
October 18, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in NE TX, about an hour east of Dallas on I-20. I hear interstate traffic behind my house, and have a busy street on its left side, and a school adjoining in back. I thi...
view the full question and answer

Apples, pears and geraniums in Kipling, Saskatchewan
March 30, 2013 - My geranium's leaves became yellow - Why? Where can I buy a good nice apple tree? Will apples and pears grow in south Saskatchewan?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center