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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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
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Sunday - May 17, 2015

From: Harrington Park, NJ
Region: Northeast
Topic: Plant Identification, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Identification of white flowering bush with lovely scent
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Please identify the sweet smelling white flowering bush/tree blooming now,May, in western Massachusetts. The flowers are tiny 4(?) petals in small clusters. The scent is wonderful.

ANSWER:

This Smarty Plants' best guess is a  white lilac (Syringa vulgaris) bush/tree.  As it happens, I am in southern Vermont at the moment and lilacs, both purple and white, are in full bloom.   The lilac is native to the Balkan Peninsula of Europe but has become naturalized in the rest of Europe and in North America.  Here is a photograph of a white lilac blossom and you can see that each individual small blossom has four petals.  The scent of the lilacs is wonderful!

Now, if this doesn't happen to be the flowering bush/tree you are seeing and you already have or can take photographs, please go to our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photographs of plants to identify.  Be sure to read the Important Notes at the end of Plant Identification page before you submit your photos.

 

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