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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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Wednesday - March 30, 2011

From: Collegeville, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Location of Taxus baccata
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

Where in the USA may I purchase taxus baccata? I can't find them anywhere on the internet or at local nurseries. I need about 125! So, saplings would be preferred even though they are slow growing. Thank you.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is curious as to why you need 125 saplings of a non-native species? I hope its not for roadside planting in a development. The mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes. Taxus baccata (English Yew) is not a native of North America, which makes it one we will not recommend.

To make it all worse, we did go looking and can confirm that it seemed really hard to locate.  The best we found was mention of cultivars at the University of Connecticut and an aficionado society in their native England.  Still, they will be more receptive to your request and may even "know somebody"!

Sorry we can't help you in that aspect, but we can certainly give you some ideas on obtaining native plants in your area. This website has a "Recommended Species" list which is split out by state. Pennsylvania shows 63 different species of trees which you can expect will grow and prosper.  I would hope that you can find a tree of similar height and configuration [and which you can obtain!] that can replace the English Yew in your plans.

 

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