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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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Thursday - June 17, 2010

From: Corpus Christi, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, User Comments
Title: Another plant with ice plant as the common name from Corpus Christi
Answered by: Barbara Medford


This is not a question, but your "ice plant" answer to El Cajon did not consider Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, which I believe is the common roadside succulent that ate California. God have mercy on the golfer who finds his ball in this stuff. The ball will "fly" out of it and wet pieces of plant material will rain down upon him.


We realize that was not a question, but another Mr. Smarty Plants "GOTCHA." Common names of plants are a constant problem for us; they are different in areas of the country, even adjacent counties, and certainly from other countries. Mesenbryanthemum crystallinum does, as you say, have "iceplant" as one of its common names. It is native to Africa, western Asia and Europe. However, our answer to that question was still correct. Both (or all three) of the plants mentioned are non-native and invasive, and the advice to the correspondent was to go to a source for groundcovers native to Southern California, which is still valid. 




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