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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 - September 01, 2007

From: Deleon, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identifying
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

i have a tree that i cannot identify. the leaf looks like a "pot plant"(yes, cannabis!!), but the leaf does not have serrated edges. it has a long bloom of numerous small white flowers that form a spike. my home was built in 1921 and i believe the plant(tree/shrub) to be from that period.

ANSWER:

There are "pot plants" and there are potted plants, and Mr. Smarty Plants would surmise that you have neither. The description of the flowering spike eliminates Cannabis and when you say its a tree, its probably not in a pot.

From the description of the leaves and the flowers, we're betting that you have a Chaste Tree, Vitex agnus-castus. This is an introduced shrub that is widely used as an ornamental throughout the southern US. While commonly referred to as the lilac chaste tree, its flower colors can also be pink and white. Although many gardeners favor Vitex for its fragrance, and the fact that it attracts butterflies and humming birds, it does appear on the Texas Invasive Plants list. This website provides alternative plants, such as Eysenhardtia texana (Texas kidneywood) should you wish to eliminate the Chaste Tree from your landscape.

Vitex berries may be used in spice mixtures , and the plant has a long history of use in various herbal remedies.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas kidneywood
Eysenhardtia texana

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