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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 - August 10, 2010

From: Merritt Island, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native Coconut palms and Christmas palms in Merritt Island, FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Last winter the coconut and Christmas Palms all suffered. I have coconuts to plant, but can't get them to put forth a sprout, and eventually grow into a tree. I have put some in the ground half-way. Perhaps it takes many many months to show growth, perhaps years? Thank you for yur time and knowledge.

ANSWER:

My, you are busy today. However, once again you got a wrong number. Neither the Cocos nucifera, Coconut Palm nor the Veitchia merrillii, Christmas Palm are native to North America. The Coconut Palm is native to the Malay Archipelago or the South Pacific. The Christmas Palm is native to the Phillipines. 

From the University of Florida IFAS Extension, this article on The Coconut Palm will give you more information on that plant.  

This article from the USDA Forest Service on Christmas Palm,  Veitchia merrillii, says, among other things:

"Unfortunately, the palm is very susceptible to lethal yellowing disease and probably should not be planted."

You will find that if you Google on the scientific names instead of the common names, you will get more results. 

 

 

 

 

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