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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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Tuesday - July 23, 2013

From: Iowa City, IA
Region: Midwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Is Milium effusum 'aureum' native to North America from Iowa City, IA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have seen the cultivar grass milium effusm aureum described as a native of both Europe and the N. America. Both continents HAVE a subspecies of m. effusum. Which is more accurate; is MEA a cultivar of an American or a Euro plant--or both?

ANSWER:

There is a plant, Milium effusum (American milletgrass), in our Native Plant Database which would, by definition, contain no cultivars nor hybrids and certainly no non-natives to North America, so we cannot give you much more definitive information.

Going to the Internet, we found this article on Milium effusum 'Aureum' from the Royal Horticultural Society which is, of course, in Great Britain. From Plants for the Future we found this article on Millium effusum, referred to as "wood millet," which included this statement on its range:

"Europe, excluding the Meditteranean, east to Siberia and the Himalayas." There don't seem to be any laws saying that botanists have to name the same plant a different name in every country. Botanists have meetings to decide things like that; we don't suppose they got around to this one, yet.

According to our database, this plant does grow natively in Iowa, but we can't get the USDA Plant Profile site to respond, giving us the counties in Iowa where it grows, perhaps they went home early today. Since we have no pictures of it in our Image Gallery, here are some from Google.

 

 

 

 

 

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