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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 - November 05, 2013

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Fasciated Texas mountain laurel
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I've noticed some strange things hanging off some of the purple mountain laurels in my area. They hang low, and look almost like large, dangling trumpet flowers, but are flat, and have little bumps on them. They are not part of a vine or anything, but are actually attached to and part of the purple mountain laurel tree itself. I don't recall seeing these things on these trees before. Can you tell me what they are and/or what function they serve?

ANSWER:

The growths that you are seeing are called fasciations.  Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) seems particularly susceptible to this growth anomaly.  Here is a discussion about fasciation from a recent question to Mr. Smarty Plants.  They aren't harmful to the tree—just fascinating fasciations!

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

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