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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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Thursday - June 15, 2006

From: Mescalero, NM
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Name of epiphyte growing on oak trees
Answered by: Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

Please tell me what the epiphyte growing on the oak trees is.

ANSWER:

It depends on what part of the country you're talking about. In humid environments of the southeastern United States from east-central Texas to the Carolinas, the familiar epiphyte growing on live oaks and other trees is Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides). In drier areas from Arizona to Louisiana and Florida, you'll find the related ball moss (Tillandsia recurvata) growing on a variety of trees, including oaks. Tillandsias are members of the pineapple family, Bromeliaceae.

 

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