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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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Thursday - October 27, 2011

From: Jasper, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Shrubs
Title: Carolina allspice (Calycanthus floridus) in Jasper TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Carolina allspice (calycanthus floridus) grows in my yard in East Texas. It is native to the eastern U.S., but I notice there is a variety whose distribution extends through Louisiana. Since I live in Jasper County, is it possible that this plant's range has extended into eastern Texas? I did not plant it but live in an old neighborhood where I first noticed it growing up in a large azalea.

ANSWER:

You are right that Calycanthus floridus (Eastern sweetshrub) is native to the eastern United States.  The USDA Plants Database distribution map shows that the nearest occurrence to Texas is Louisiana for the variety, Calycanthus floridus var. glaucus.  The highlighted parish where it has been reported is West Feliciana.  If you click on the highlighted parish, it will show the names of all the Louisiana parishes.  Jasper County, Texas is probably far enough from West Feliciana Parish for the plant not to have moved over from its Louisiana neighbor without a little help.  The most likely explanation for its occurrence in your neighborhood is that someone liked it and transplanted it there.  It is certainly recommended as a landscape plant and is available in many nurseries.   The environment in Jasper wouldn't be very different from that of West Feliciana Parish so it should thrive there.

 

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