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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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Tuesday - July 04, 2006

From: Pensacola, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Conditions for non-native, poisonous mandrakes
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What climates or conditions can mandrakes live in? Do they have to live submerged in water, with some water, or with very little? Why? Thanks

ANSWER:

All of the mandrakes are native to the Mediterranean region of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Since our focus and expertise at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center are in the native plants of North America, mandrakes aren't really in our purview; however, I can guide to some resources to answer your questions. Mandragora autumnalis, a European species, is recommended for rock gardens so they are obviously not obligated to live submerged in water. Mandragora officinarum should be grown in well-drained soil to prevent the roots from rotting. Please be aware that Mandragora species are considered poisonous. You can find more information about the mandrakes by searching the internet using their botanical names.
 

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