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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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Monday - July 11, 2005

From: Rock Island, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Possible cinnamon-scented plants in Mississippi delta
Answered by: Joe Marcus and Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I used to live in Mississippi and now live in Illinois. I am trying to find what plant or tree has a strong cinnamon-like scent that fills the air. I noticed this scent driving through the delta in Mississippi. Yesterday, I was at a park near the Mississippi River in Illinois and noticed that scent again. I have asked but nobody seems to know. Thank you very much.

ANSWER:

Here are some possibilities for your cinnamon-scented plant:

Discorea oppositifolia [synonym: Discorea batatas] (Cinnamon vine, Chinese yam or potato vine) an Asian native that occurs in Pennsylvania.   Here are more photos and information from Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide.

Dodecatheon meadia (Pride-of-ohio) is native to Pennsylvania.   Here is more information from Crescentbloom.com.

Hesperis matronalis (Dame's rocket) is a Eurasian native and is considered invasive or a noxious weed in many parts of the US.  It does grow in Pennsylvania.  Here is more information from Seedaholic.com.

The next time you smell the cinnamon-like scent, perhaps you will be able to determine which one it is (or if it is one) of these.

 

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