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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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Tuesday - April 22, 2003

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany, Invasive Plants
Title: Definition of a weed
Answered by: Stephen Brueggerhoff

QUESTION:

What is your definition of a weed?

ANSWER:

My definition of a weed encompasses the natural distribution range of a particular plant, as well as growth habit. Generally, a plant is determined "weedy" if it has a habit of creating a monoculture and effectively removing or reducing populations of naturally occurring flora. Weeds can be either native or non-native plants. Native plants are plants that naturally occur in a given location without accidental or intentional introduction by humans. Plants that are native to other places and have been introduced to locations out of their natural range are called exotics. These plants, in turn, are then declared invasive when they exhibit characteristics described above. Additionally, native plants that are introduced/grow out of their naturally distributed range, can become invasive as well.

 

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