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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 - January 05, 2008

From: Deer Park, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Looking for name of fragrant, night-blooming plant with flower resembling gardenia
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

The plant that I am looking for is a night bloomer, strong scented and has leaves and flowers similar to gardenia. I have seen a picture of the plant but not the actually plant. Can you give me an idea of what this plant might be named.

ANSWER:

Here are some possibilites for fragrant night-blooming plants with white flowers, some native and some not. Some have flowers that look sort of like gardenias and/or leaves that do.

1) Moonflower vine (Ipomoea alba), native to Central and South America and naturalized in Florida.

2) American linden tree (Tilia americana), native to North America.

3) Ruellia noctiflora (nightflowering wild petunia), native to Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi and Florida.

4) Peniocereus greggii [synonym Cereus greggii] (Night-blooming Cereus), a member of the Family Cactaceae (Cactus Family) that is native to southern Arizona, western Texas and northern Mexico.

5) Epiphyllum oxypetalum (Night blooming Cereus or Queen of the Night), another member of the cactus family and native to Central America.

6) Night Blooming Jasmine, grows in tropical America and the West Indies.

7) Datura inoxia (Angel's trumpet) and Datura wrightii (sacred thorn-apple) from the southern U.S. and Mexico.

There are other night-blooming plants that are fragrant, but generally don't look like gardenias either in their flower or in their foliage. Here is an article, Florida Moon Garden, that names several of these fragrant, night-blooming flowers and from Colorado State University Extension, The Night Shift.

 

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