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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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Friday - August 31, 2012

From: Port Saint Lucie, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification, Trees
Title: Identification of small tree in Florida
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Port Saint Lucie, FL. We have a few trees (?) growing in our yard I would like to i.d. They seem to grow quickly have smooth leaves that grow opposite one another and the underside of the leaves are purple and the top side is green. Also, the largest one is at least 8 feet tall.

ANSWER:

You description doesn't  bring to my mind a tree or shrub native to Florida.  You can do a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database choosing "Florida" from the Select State or Province option and "Tree" from Habit (general appearance).  You should also try the same search but substitute "Shrub" for "Tree."  I have done this search but didn't see a tree that looked like your description.  However, I don't know what the shape or size of the leaves are and whether the leaves grow up the stem in pairs or they grow on branches that come off the main stem or trunk so I could have missed your tree/shrub.  You should do the search yourself in case I missed it.  

It is entirely possible that your tree/shrub is not a native plant.   If it isn't native to North America, it won't be in our Native Plant Database.   Florida's mild climate makes it easy for non-native tropical and semi-tropical plants to grow there.  If you don't find your tree in our Native Plant Database, you should take photos of it and then visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants for identification.

 

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