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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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Saturday - March 21, 2015

From: Giddings, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Trees
Title: Trees with white blossoms in Crockett, Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What are the trees that are blooming just East of Crockett Texas (off of Hwy 21) right now - fairly large trees - multitude of white blooms - almost like a wild plum or pear, but tree seems too large??

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants checked the USDA Plants Database for Prunus (plum) and Pyrus (pear) species growing in Houston County but there were none given.  This doesn't necessarily mean that no species of either of these genera occur in Houston County. Here is what the USDA Plants Database says on the subject of distribution data on its Advanced Search and Download page:

"Regardless of source, county distribution data are notoriously incomplete and can only be considered preliminary. For a broader idea of what may grow spontaneously in a particular county you may want to include adjacent counties that are phytogeographically similar in your search."

In adjacent counties, however, there were:

In adjacent nearby counties of Robertson and Brazos Pyrus communis (Common pear), introduced from Europe and Asia, has been reported as can be seen on the USDA Plants database distribution map.

Pyrus calleryana (Callery or Bradford pear), with origins in China and Vietnam, has been introduced into Texas but no county data is available according to the distribution map from the USDA Plants Database.  The Bradford cultivar has been a very popular landscape tree.

If the flowering trees look as if they have been planted (i.e., they are regularly spaced and approximately the same size), then I would suspect that they are one of the two introduced pear species.

If the flowering trees are not all the same size and if they aren't regularly space, I would think that they are one of the three native plum species named above.

 

From the Image Gallery


Chickasaw plum
Prunus angustifolia

Chickasaw plum
Prunus angustifolia

Mexican plum
Prunus mexicana

Mexican plum
Prunus mexicana

Flatwoods plum
Prunus umbellata

Flatwoods plum
Prunus umbellata

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