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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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Wednesday - January 24, 2007

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Why is non-native, invasive dandelion called a wildflower?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Why is a dandelion a wildflower? {I read it in a book.}

ANSWER:

There is not universal agreement on how the term "wildflower" is defined. Some would say that any flowering plant that grows and reseeds itself without help from humans is a wildflower. Others maintain that a wildflower is any plant found growing in wild places. Finally, some would define wildflower as a plant found in the region where it evolved.

Common dandelion, Taraxacum officianale, is a native or Eurasia. As an introduced, exotic plant in North America, it is not considered a "wildflower" by very many people. In fact, most classify it as a troublesome - if not noxious - lawn weed. Of course, in its native lands, it would rightfully be classified as a wildflower there.
 

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