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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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Wednesday - May 02, 2012

From: Kingsland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Problem Plants, Shrubs
Title: Germination of Sophora seeds, and Dodder identification in Kingsland, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Our Mt. Laurel has just produced seeds. Can those be scarified and planted now or do they have to dry out. Also what is the stringy orange substance that gets on bluebonnets and other wildflowers and how can you stop or prevent it.

ANSWER:

Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) has bloomed profusely this spring, and many plants are now covered with seed pods. On the Plant Profile page above, scroll down to the paragraph on Propagation. It has detailed instructions for getting Sophora seeds to germinate, including scarification.
This article from aggie-horticulture describes how one can plant unripe seeds in June or July and get them to germinate without the trouble of scarification. If you have an abundance of seeds, you might try each method on a batch of seeds.

The orange stringy substance that you saw on Bluebonnets this Spring is a parasitic flowering plant called Dodder. We had several questions about it earlier in the year.

Dodder questions:

#8036

#7997

#7998

#7858

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

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