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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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Sunday - February 18, 2007

From: Onalaska, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Bloom time for Opuntia engelmannii
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We are planing a trip to West Texas, El Paso area, in March and can't remember when the prickly pear cactus are in bloom. Can you help!

ANSWER:

Opuntia engelmannii is the scientific name for the prickly pear, or cactus apple. The variety you will find in the El Paso area is Opuntia engelmannii var. engelmannii. Although you may see some blossoms in late March, the blooming period doesn't really begin in earnest until April and May and can extend through July.
 

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