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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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Sunday - July 03, 2016

From: Birmingham, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Seeds and Seeding, Shrubs
Title: Savannah Holly True to Seed?
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I read your information on Savannah holly. Does this mean that none of the berries will produce a Savannah holly (Ilex x attenuata) but will either be Ilex cassine or Ilex opaca seeds? Thanks so much in advance. It was a great berry year and the robins and cedar waxwings feasted here this weekend.

ANSWER:

The US Forest Service factsheet by Edward Gilman and Dennis Watson identifies Savannah Holly as Ilex x attenuata 'Savannah.' As you have read, and what is listed on the Missouri Botanical Garden website. is that Ilex x attenuata is a cross between I. cassine and I. opaca (both parents share common native territory in the far southeastern U.S. (coastal NC to Florida). 'Savannah; is a narrow, columnar to open, pyramidal form that was discovered by W. H. Robertson, Commissioner of Parks in Savannah, Georgia and has been available in commerce since 1953. So the fruit of 'Savannah' could have characteristics of I x attenuata, I. cassine or I. opaca. It is doubtful that the seed from your 'Savannah' will be true to type. Most nursery propagators will have taken cuttings of female trees so that the resulting plant has fruit.
Glad that the birds found the holly fruit and feasted on them.

 

From the Image Gallery


American holly
Ilex opaca

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