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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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Monday - April 15, 2013

From: London, Other
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives, Plant Identification
Title: Identification of red/yellow/black flower in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Plant found, April Mount Diablo CA 6 symmetrical petals red with a pattern of a yellow flower with black edge in the centre, I can not identify, please help.

ANSWER:

Your description sounds like Sparaxis tricolor (Harlequin flower or wandflower), in the Family Iridaceae (Iris Family).  It is not native to California, nor of North America (our area of expertise), but is a native of Africa—a garden escapee that has become naturalized in California.

Here are more photos and information from Calflora, Pacific Bulb Society, CalPhotos Berkeley and eFloras.org.

 

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