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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!

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Wednesday - July 02, 2014

From: Tacoma, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, User Comments
Title: Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Foxglove (digitalis purpurea) is not a native U.S. plant. It was introduced to the U.S. from Europe and is now considered invasive in many parts of the western U.S. It invades our forested wild lands and is beginning to colonize our highway medians. The USDA plant database shows Foxglove is an introduced species. You need to click on their link "View Native Distribution" to see that information. The USDA map that is initially displayed only reports a plant' presence in a state, that does not mean the plant is "native" in a state.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants wholeheartedly agrees with all your statements above, but is wondering why you have written this to us. Is there somewhere on our webpage that we indicate that the European Digitalis purpurea (Purple foxglove) is a North American native plant?

I searched our Mr. Smarty Plants questions and found six of them that mention Digitalis purpurea (Purple foxglove).  In each of those questions (9255, 8606, 8143, 8628, 8579, 8167) we indicate that it is not native.   Also, it isn't listed in our Native Plant Database as a native plant.  If I have somehow missed it and there is a reference on our webpage that even suggests that Digitalis purpurea is native to North America, please let us know and we will correct it.

 

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