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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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Tuesday - March 29, 2011

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native ornamental peach purchased in Georgetown TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I purchased an "ornamental peach" at a plant sale in Georgetown, TX. Only info it had on the tag: 6' tall. The leaves are long and narrow, burgundy, with serrated edges; is in a 1-qt pot. Any care/info on this? Will it survive here?

ANSWER:

This is not the only request on purchasing unnamed plants we have received. We are advising people to refuse to purchase plants that do not have a name attached. If it's a common name, that's okay, you can usually find it on the Internet, but the scientific name is even better, because while a plant may have several common names or the same common name may be used for different plants, there is only one correct scientific name.

Now, as to the "ornamental peach," the first thing we can tell you is that it is not a native tree. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which those plants natively grow.

So, following our own advice, we went to the Internet and discovered that "ornamental peach" is usually a common name for Prunus persica, which has been so hybridized that it does not grow anywhere in the wild, and probably originated in China. An Arizona Wildflowers website on Prunus persica refers to it as a "dwarf peach" and has quite a bit of information on its care. This Dave's Garden Forum website will give you some more information and comments on the tree. It would appear that it can survive in Georgetown, Texas.

 

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