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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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Thursday - May 12, 2005

From: Atlanta, GA
Region: Other
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Smarty Plants on vitex
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I recently purchased a vitex tree and I don't know anything about it other that it blooms. Can you tell me everything there is about this tree?

ANSWER:

The Common Chaste-tree or Lilac Chaste-tree (Vitex agnus-castus) is not native to North America. It was introduced from the Mediterranean regions of southern Europe, northern Africa and western Asia. Here are more photos and further information about the Vitex tree.

Compounds made from the roots, flowers, leaves, bark and dried fruits of the tree have been used since ancient times in treating "female" disorders. The species name, agnus-castus from the Greek, means chaste since it was thought by the Greeks to suppress sexual passion. You can read more about its history and uses as an herbal medicine.
 

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