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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

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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Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
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Thursday - June 07, 2012

From: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification for plant near Lake Tahoe
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Looking to figure out what this plant is: grows along water ways, moist areas in Lake Tahoe. Looks tropical. Only seen small versions of it but it looks like miniature bamboo with a softer stem and broader leaves. Has a connected root system between upshoots. Can't find a decent page with pics anywhere but hopefully you can help. Thanks

ANSWER:

The following native plants are ones that, to me, resembled bamboo that I found by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database (see instructions for doing the search below).

Dulichium arundinaceum (Three-sided sedge).  You can see that it occurs in El Dorado County if you click on California in the USDA Plants Database Distribution Map.  Here are photos and more information from Rook.org, Wisconsin Plants and Plants of New Jersey.

Phragmites australis (Common reed), although native to North America is considered invasive, especially in the eastern States.  USDA Plants Database Distribution Map shows it in adjacent Sacramento County.

Salix exigua (Coyote willow) occurs all over California according to the USDA Plants Database Distribution Map.  Here are photos and more information from BluestemNursery.com.

Sium suave (Hemlock waterparsnip).  Here are photos and more information from Wisconsin Plants and CalPhotos from the University of California-Berkeley.  The USDA Plants Database Distribution Map shows it in adjacent Sacramento County.

If none of the above is the plant you saw, the USGS has a list of Western Wetland Flora that you could check.  Also, you can try doing a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database and selecting "California" from the Select State or Province option and "Wet - soil is saturated with water" under Soil moisture.

 

From the Image Gallery


Common reed
Phragmites australis

Common reed
Phragmites australis

Coyote willow
Salix exigua

Coyote willow
Salix exigua

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