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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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Monday - March 13, 2006

From: Leicestershire, UK, Other
Region: Other
Topic: Non-Natives, Diseases and Disorders
Title: Problems getting desert western US plant Stanleya pinnata to bloom in England
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am having trouble getting my Princes plume (Stanleya pinnata) to produce a flower and then go to seed. Do you have any advice on triggering flowering in this plant?

ANSWER:

Golden prince's plume (Stanleya pinnata) is native to the desert western U. S. As such, it requires lots of sun and low humidity to prosper, so I am surprised you could get it to grow successfully in England. It is found in selenium-rich soils. Selenium often occurs in areas together with uranium. In fact, the presence of the prince's plume plants has been used to locate uranium deposits by prospectors because of the plant's association with selenium and selenium's occurrence with uranium.

So, it may be a combination of factors keeping your plant from blooming--not enough sunlight, high humidity, and lack of soil minerals.

 

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