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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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Thursday - October 17, 2013

From: Alpine, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests, Poisonous Plants, Trees
Title: Flying insects eating leaves of non-native Brugmansia in Aline CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have an Angel Trumpet tree. We live in Aline, California 30 miles east of San Diego. Little yellow and black flying bugs eat the leaves. Do you have a remedy for this problem.

ANSWER:

Because this plant is non-native to North America (mostly from the Andes and South America) it is not in our Native Plant Database and therefore out of our range of expertise. Here is an article from the University of Vermont on Bragmansia (and Datura).

Be careful when planting this - all parts of angel's trumpet are poisonous, or at least narcotic in small doses.

Relatives include datura, nightshade, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and eggplants.

These are also called by the common name 'datura'. However, datura is an annual plant, while brugmansia is a woody plant.

Whiteflies can be a big problem for angel's trumpet. Cabbage worms, spider mites and aphids are also common. Other pests that may appear include cucumber beetles (in the Mid West), slugs and snails, fungus gnats (inside) and mealy bugs.

While we may not know much about non-native plants, we can refer you to some websites with information on whiteflies, spider mites and aphids, as those seem to be the most likely culprits.

 

 

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