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

 
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Saturday - June 01, 2013

From: Williamston, MI
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of tree with orange flowers in Mississippi
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Saw beautiful Orange colored flowers on a tree in Jackson MI. Can't find one that is hardy in our zone. It looked to be about the size and shape of an apple tree. What could it be?

ANSWER:

Here are some possibilities for the tree with orange flowers that you saw in Jackson, Mississippi.  These are all native plants that are reported to grow in Jackson County or a nearby county.  They should all be hardy in Jackson County (zone 9a or 8b).

The first two on the list have orange or gold flowers.   They match your description better than the last three, but those last three are possibilities as well.

Acacia farnesiana (Huisache)

Rhododendron austrinum (Orange azalea)

Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip tree) has yellow flowers iwth orange areas in the middle of the blossom. 

Parkinsonia aculeata (Retama) has yellow flowers.

Symplocos tinctoria (Horsesugar) with yellowish or cream-colored flowers.  Here are more photos and information from Duke University and from Native & Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas & Georgia.

If none of the above is the tree you saw, it is very likely that it is a non-native introduced to the area.  If you took a photo of the tree, you can visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plant for identification.  If you don't have a photo, you might try asking landscape nurseries in the area to see if they have any ideas.

 

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