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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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Friday - May 30, 2008

From: Mont Clare, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Rules for picking wildflowers
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I've always heard that, if not in a park or posted area, it is ok to pick one wildflower for every 13 and therefore leave a dozen. Is this at all true?

ANSWER:

Oh, absolutely. And then the Wildflower Police, who have been following you with radar and binoculars, swoop up to count and make sure you left the required twelve.

All right, only joking. Actually, what I think you're referring to is a way to help people understand that they should leave some wildflowers, or any other wildlife, for others to enjoy. In other words, don't take everything away. Here is a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer to a related question (also from Pennsylvania, what's going on up there?) in which we discuss the rules, laws and courtesies concerning wildflowers. Our basic message is that wild plants left where they were growing will continue to be seen and enjoyed by others, will remain to drops seeds, and then reproduce for the future. As long as you are not on private property without permission or in a protected area, certainly it's okay to pick a few wildflowers, but don't pick them all, or destroy them "just for fun." And, as we said in our previous answer, consider growing some wildflowers of your own, and contribute to your own and others' pleasure.

 

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