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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 - November 25, 2008

From: Wilmette, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live north of Chicago. I have been Gardening just about everything forever. I finally got a surprise gift from a migrating bird, squirrel or possibly my kitchen composting. Apparently from a seed grew this single tall and wide (8ft high x 8ft wide)plant/tree/bush ?? The uniqueness is in the "rhubarb" colored stem and branches (stem is hollow and branches are more plant than woody). THIS PLANT BEARS AN AWESOME VERTICAL CLUSTER OF DARK PURPLE BERRIES (40-50)ON A SINGLE STEM UNLIKE A GRAPE CLUSTER SPREAD OUT ON FINGERS, THIS FRUIT BEARS ON A SINGLE VERTICAL STEM (DK RED). VERY PROLIFEROUS AND A REAL TREASURE. Please help me with any or all information. I have to say I am not sure if it is perennial or re-seeds itself. It has grown back three years and I hope a fourth. Thank you

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants thinks this sounds like Phytolacca americana (American pokeweed). If this doesn't happen to be your plant, please send us a photo and we will do our best to identify it.  For instructions for submitting photographs, please visit the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page.

Phytolacca americana

Phytolacca americana

Phytolacca americana

Phytolacca americana

 

 

 

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