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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 06, 2010

From: Nacogdoches, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton


My neighbor has a few trees in his pasture that his horses love to eat the fruit off of. The fruit looks like a lemon but smaller and has lots of seeds inside of it. The trees have very long thorns on them also. Can you help me to identify what these trees are?


This sounds like Poncirus trifoliata (hardy orange) a native of China and Korea.  It is also called trifoliate orange.  It is very hardy, surviving temperatures near 0 degrees F.  It is on the list of invasive plants. If this isn't the tree you have seen in your neighbor's pasture, please send us photos and we will do our best to identify it.  Visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page to see the instructions for submitting photos.  You didn't ask, but it is listed as mildly toxic by the North Carolina Poisonous Plants Database but is not included in the ASPCA's Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List—Horses.


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