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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!

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

 
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topicquestion
Need to identify Cherry laurel varietyin Bee Caves, TX
March 29, 2016
I recently had cherry laurels installed in my yard for privacy. Unfortunately, the landscaper does not know what type of cherry laurel they are. The tag from the tree says Che-Com which to me might in...
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Tree with blue berries in Los Angeles, CA
March 22, 2016
There's a tree outside my house with somewhat thin and short spiky leaves with blue berries. The berries Some of the berries have a frost look and some are dark blue.
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Identity of fast growing vine in San Francisco
March 20, 2016
Really need to know what kind of vine is growing rapidly in the garden. Can't find out in plant identification: started to grow profusely after rainfall. Grows at rate of 6-8" per day (!). Has ivy-l...
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Care of non-native plant
March 17, 2016
I have a plant that grows about 1' tall, looks sort of like a dracaena. The leaves grow off of a short stem and are yellowish (no green at all) with brilliant slashes of hot pink an red. It is georg...
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Identification of vining plant with red berries in California
January 28, 2016
We found a vining plant next to and growing in our stream with gorgeous purple leaves in the fall after frost and a few sporadic clusters of smooth small red berries with little thorns on the vine. We...
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What are the cone shaped evergreens around Pilot Point, TX?
January 26, 2016
What are the cone shaped evergreens around Pilot Point, Texas called? They are dark green with spiky leaves and rough bark. I have a row planted as a windscreen and want to transplant a couple from a ...
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Wanting to grow a Buckley Oak in Amarillo, TX
January 20, 2016
I live in Amarillo Texas in the Texas Panhandle. I recently became interested in the Buckley Oak and was wondering if it might grow well here and if so, where I might find one that I could purchase a...
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Is Goldenball leadtree really evergreen, as we state?
January 17, 2016
Please would you confirm that Goldenball leadtree Leucaena retusa is evergreen as stated on this website and not deciduous as stated by Wasowski in Native Texas Plants? Thanks
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ID for Caribbean mystery plants.
January 13, 2016
I AM TRYING TO FIND THE COMMON NAME FOR TWO FLOWERS I TOOK PICTURES OF ON A CARIBBEAN CRUISE. I TOOK ONE IN HONDURAS AND ONE IN GRAND CAYMAN. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHERE I CAN GO TO TO GET HELP IN ID...
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What is the bush that has very bright red berries in the fall/winter and no leaves?
December 27, 2015
What is the name of the bush that has very bright red berries in the fall/winter and no leaves? I am familiar with amour honeysuckle, and I'm sure that it is not that.
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Why do Turk's cap plants have such a variable growth habit?
December 10, 2015
In visiting the Family Garden at the Lady Bird Wildflower Center yesterday (10-21-15,) I admired a large bunch of Turks Cap that had more blooms than I had ever seen on Turks Cap, and I've loved that...
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ID for two flowers blooming in November in Buda TX
November 29, 2015
two different plants growing in my wild area. 1. springs of tiny yellow flowers atop almost foot tall woody stem. 2. Clump of tiny near white bud like flowers. clump about 6 to 8 inches across on ...
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Website with map showing occurence of species
November 25, 2015
Hello and thank you so much for this amazing site and all the information you provide. Recently after reading about some really neat species on here I ended up surfing the net for pictures and somehow...
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Identification of Verbesina occidentalis (Yellow crownbeard) in Burnet County TX
November 23, 2015
Looked up (small) yellow crownbeard..yellow, no description or pic. Csn you tell me if this is what is in this pic? THX! Can't insert a pic to say y/n. 😟it's in Burnet, Co..SE of Marble Fal...
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Identification of Bidens aristosa (Tickseed sunflower) in Texas
November 20, 2015
I think the ID of the plant I submitted a description of yesterday is Tickseed Sunflower (Bidens aristosa). Thanks.
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Spriranthes sp. blooming on rocky hilltop
November 13, 2015
I am not sure if my previous question went thru, so I am submitting it again. How unusual is it to find a few blooming specimens of Spiranthes sp. on a rocky hilltop west of Loop 360 near Bee Caves R...
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Identity of evergreen tree at Barton Springs in Austin TX
October 11, 2015
I am trying to identify an evergreen tree at Barton Springs in Austin. It is growing on the south lawn overlooking the pool. It has needles arranged in a fan like shape and makes a kind of crown-shape...
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How to tell Monarda citriodora from Monarda punctata.
September 18, 2015
Hello! I'm wondering if you could clarify the differences between Monarda citriodora and Monarda punctata. Perhaps they do a lot of hybridizing, but I have plenty of conflicting info on...
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Tree with light-colored bark, thorns and long white clumps of flowers
August 18, 2015
I bought a tree at the LBJWC plant sale a couple years ago but lost the name of the tree. I'm finally ready to plant it in the ground and would like to learn more about what its needs are. Can you ...
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Identity of tree in South Carolina
August 18, 2015
I don't know if this is native as I'm new to South Carolina. This is a tree about 40' tall. The leaves are trilobal, 10" to a foot across/long and are trilobal, not glossy and have big veins. T...
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Identification of flower in book
August 12, 2015
Hi, I make paper flowers and I came across this flower in my book under the name camellia. But I am sure it is not. I tried finding out similar flowers but i am lost as I don't know if such a flower ...
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Plant Identification
August 07, 2015
I live in southeastern Michigan. I found a plant growing in the backyard that caught my eye. I chalked it off as a weed, but it's unique. It is shaped like a bushing type plant, has red stem, each cl...
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Identification of vining shrub near Fort Worth
August 07, 2015
Please let me know what this plant might be. Saw it one county west of Ft. Worth, in a wooded area, and I've never seen this in this region before. The form is a vining shrub. Leaves are heart-sh...
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Bee-friendly bush with small yellow flowers in Minnesota
August 04, 2015
I was up north in Minnesota and saw a bee friendly bush with small yellow flowers clustered so they looked like small (4"-6") flocked Christmas trees. Any ideas? Thanks!
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Identity of ball-shaped purple flower in Connecticut
July 13, 2015
I am trying to identify a ball shaped purple/light purple flower with opposite leaves that look fern like. It has been in bloom since late May or early June. I have found it growing with what appear...
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