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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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Friday - October 18, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany, Rainwater Harvesting, Diseases and Disorders
Title: School project on acid rain effects on plants from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi I go to an Austin high school and I am doing a project on how acid rain affects plant growth. I am wondering if you know any plants that would be more or less susceptible to acid rain for this project. Any general knowledge on this topic such as its main affects on plants would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

ANSWER:

We have to tell you there is no selection criteria such as "resistant to acid rain" in our Native Plant Database. We did a search of our Previous Mr. Smarty Plants questions to see if another member of the Smarty Plants Team had answered a similar question. Since we only deal with plants native to North America that may not be enough possibilities. So, since you were no doubt assigned this question to help you learn how to do research, we are going to go to Google, and search on "acid rain," and take a look at some of the scientific information that shows up. Here are links to some websites that we hope will help you answer your own question:

Environmental Protection Agency - What is Acid Rain?

National Geographic Acid Rain

USGS Acid Rain Do You need to Start Wearing a Rain Hat?

About.com The Causes, History and Effects of Acid Rain

These articles were pretty repetitive, so we tried searching on "plants resistant to acid rain." Under that:

Dr. Ken Rubin, University of Hawaii - Effects of Acid Rain on Plants

To be honest, our conclusion would be that what we need to think about is not what plants can tolerate acid rain but how to limit acid rain, but don't quote us on that, it was purely a guess. Hope you can draw some more useful information from this and other research you may find.

 

 

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