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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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Saturday - December 06, 2014

From: Clemson, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Potential ecosystem benefits to Carex flaccosperma
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, I am trying to find out if there are any ecosystem benefits associated with the plant Carex flaccosperma: Blue wood sedge?

ANSWER:

Carex flaccosperma (Thinfruit sedge), like other green plants that are photosynthesizing, is removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and releasing oxygen—a definite benefit to the ecosystem—but I imagine you are looking for something unique that it might be doing.  Since it resembles the popular Asian liriope species that are considered invasive in some areas, it can be used as a substitute for liriope to be planted as an ornamental.  Replacing a potentially invasive non-native plant ranks as an ecosystem benefit in my estimation.  Cornell University Integrated Pest Management lists it as one of the Weed-Suppressive Groundcovers and the Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council lists it as an alternative to the invasive Vinca minor (common periwinkle) on its Tennessee's Plant Alternatives to Exotic Invasives list.  I could find no information that Carex flaccosperma was capable of phytoremediation of any sort.

 

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