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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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Thursday - October 02, 2014

From: Jacksonville, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Trees
Title: Difference in native and non-native cherry laurel
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a backyard volunteer that I have identified as a cherry laurel, but how do I tell the Carolina from the non-native? This is still young (2 years or so), and not flowering, at least not now.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is a little baffled.  The only cherry laurel I know that occurs in Florida is Prunus caroliniana (Cherry laurel) and the USDA Plants Database agrees that it is a native.  If you go to the USDA Plants Database and search for Prunus species (click on the "Subordinate Taxa" in the menu), you will see that Prunus caroliniana is found naturally in Florida but there does not appear to be any non-native Prunus species that occur naturally in Florida.  The only other cherry laurel that I see on the USDA Plants Database is the non-native European species Prunus laurocerasus (cherry laurel), but you can see that its distribution in North America is California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.  It is very unlikely to come up as a volunteer in Florida.

 

From the Image Gallery


Carolina cherry-laurel
Prunus caroliniana

Carolina cherry-laurel
Prunus caroliniana

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