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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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Thursday - June 20, 2013

From: New York City, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Plant Lists
Title: Salt and flood tolerant plants for Brooklyn NY
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Hi, I am researching suitable plants for landscape architectural projects in the wake of New York Citys proposal for increased storm and climate change resilience. I am specifically looking at the neighborhood of Red Hook in Brooklyn. I was hoping to compile a list of species both showing salt and flood tolerance, more importantly the ability to withstand salt water flooding.


Here is a previous Mr, Smarty Plants answer on a similar subject. However, we do not really have this sort of information in our Native Plant Database. We answer questions not just from North America but sometimes from all over the world, but when we do not have the appropriate information in our database, it is necessary for us to search online for the information needed. Since the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is in Central Texas, far from the possibility of salt water and floods, most of us are pretty uninformed about this very important subject. However, when we searched the Internet on "plant species with salt and flood tolerance" we got the following websites: (and many more)

The New York Botanic Garden Salt Tolerant Plants

University of Wisconsin Extension The Effects of Flooding on Plants and Woody Plants Tolerant of Wet Soil

Rutgers University Coping with Salt Water Flooding

Local Ecologist: Landscape designs and species that survived Superstorm Sandy

If you wish to learn more about some of the plants listed, for example, on the New York Botanic Garden site above, you can go to our Native Plant Database, and find additional information on plants native to North America. For instance, we chose these four; you can follow each plant link to our webpage on them:

Amelanchier canadensis (Canadian serviceberry)

Carya ovata (Shagbark hickory)

Juglans nigra (Black walnut)

Juniperus horizontalis (Creeping juniper)

Hopefully, by beginning with the plants native to New York, you can begin building your list.


From the Image Gallery

Canadian serviceberry
Amelanchier canadensis

Shagbark hickory
Carya ovata

Black walnut
Juglans nigra

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