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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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
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Tuesday - November 05, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Vines
Title: Grapevine at the Wildflower Center
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

Hello :) I recently visited the Lady Bird Wildflower Center for Goblins in the Garden. I'm curious if you all know exactly what type of grape is growing in the back of the garden near the "Healing Garden". This was behind the beautiful owl and in front of the gallery. The leaves had a very soft, fuzzy feel and the grapes were a dark purple during our visit. Thanks!

ANSWER:

The plant you are referring to is almost certainly Vitis mustangensis (Mustang grape). There are a couple of other vines growing on that same arbor, including Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle) and Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria), but mustang grape fits your description.

Mustang grapes are native to most of the eastern half of Texas. They are an important food source for birds and small mammals. People use them to make jelly (here's a recipe) and wine (here's how).

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Mustang grape
Vitis mustangensis

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