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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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Tuesday - October 11, 2011

From: Phoenix, AZ
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Non-Natives, Shrubs
Title: Comments on non-native Tecomas from Phoenix AZ
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

There was a question regarding red Tecomas but I see no way to make a comment directly to that. There are indeed red Tecomas on the market one being Tecoma x 'Bells of Fire' tm and ppaf. I am the breeder of this and as well introduced the two others you mentioned Sierra Apricot which is not a cultivar and 'Sunrise'. In addition, Tecomaria capensis is more correctly referred to now as Tecoma capensis.

ANSWER:

We are not a forum, which explains why you cannot reply directly. Instead, Mr. Smarty Plants answer questions having to do with plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants grow natively. If you will recall, the original answer was:

"I suspect that the red esperanza you are seeing isn't a Tecoma stans (Yellow bells or esperanza) at all, but another species, a close relative called Tecoma capensis (cape honesuckle), an introduced species from South Africa.  Here are more photos of Tecoma capensis.

Another possibility is Tecoma fulva, a native of South America.

I couldn't find any varieties of Tecoma stans that were red, however.   I did find some hybrid varieties that were yellow with red highlights giving them an overall orange color.   Here are a couple of those:

Tecoma x 'Sierra Apricot'

Tecoma x 'Sunrise'"

Any time a plant name has an "x" in it, it is hybridized. Many of the plants sold in nurseries that are taken as Tecoma stans  are either tropicals or have been hybridized with tropicals, and will not do well in areas that get frosts. Two of the plants mentioned in the original answer are definitely tropical non-natives, and as native plant proponents, we would not recommend them. The original question came from San Antonio, which had some "surprise" freezes last winter and lost plants they thought were native and hardy to where they lived.

 

 

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