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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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Sunday - October 25, 2009

From: Saddle River, NJ
Region: Northeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Deer are devastating understory in our woods. We have a highly resistant shrub purchased years ago at the state arboretum plant sale. It is about 5-6' tall, somewhat wider than that, many suckers/offshoots surrounding the parent shrub. It has simple, opposite finely and unevenly toothed leaves, prominent veins, particularly on the underside (about 8 big ones and then several small ones merging together at the end of the leaf.) Distinctive fruit - a 3 berried cluster only at the end of the stalk, each berry 1/4 in., currently with dried blue/black covering with a single seed inside. The seed is lt. beige/tan with "scaling" covering patterened a bit like overlaping in a pine cone. Fruit has 3 dried, open bracts behind the cluster. Plant has good sized white flowers about late May. To some extent, leaf is kind of like an arrow wood viburnum but not as rounded. It still is bright green while most other leaves are turning here in northern NJ. I work with a volunteer organization which is promoting deer-resistant plantings and want to propagate and distribute this shrub. What should I say it is ??

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants thinks this sounds like a fascinating plant, but I don't think we are going to be able to identify it without some photos.  Please read the instructions on Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page for submitting photos.  Please send several high-resolution photos in good focus illustrating the features you mention above.
 

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