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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 - November 01, 2010

From: Port Austin, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Madrones in Michigan?
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

Will a Arbutus menziesii (Pursh Pacific madrone) grow in Huron County Michigan? I'm at the "tip of Michigan's thumb".

ANSWER:

Sorry, not a chance!

Our Native Plant Database tells us that Arbutus menziesii (Pacific madrone) is native to rocky coastal sites, low to mid elevation on the Gulf Islands and south-coastal BC where the climate is gentler than Michigan.

But we sure do understand why you are asking as there is also an Arbutus xalapensis (Texas madrone) that doesn't get as large but is just as impressive.  We have a couple of small ones growing here at the Wildflower Center and they are starting to attract attention. They are hard to find in the nursery trade as they don't transplant well even though they are found in nature growing beautifully in very inhospitable situations.

You can, however, grow one of it's tougher little northern cousins Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick)

 

From the Image Gallery


Kinnikinnick
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Kinnikinnick
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Kinnikinnick
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

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