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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 26, 2012

From: Chandler, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany, Plant Lists
Title: Native plants of Arizona from Chandler AZ
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What are some native plants of Arizona, and how do survive in the heat?

ANSWER:

This is pretty easy. Go to our Native Plant Database and, using the Combination Search on that page, select Arizona under "states." Click on the Submit combination search box; when we did that, we got 1,950 results, most of them with thumbnail pictures. Follow any plant link by clicking on it and you will get information on where it grows, what moisture it needs, light, soils, etc.

Native plants survive in the heat just as plants in Alaska survive in the cold, by being totally adapted to the prevailing climate. Over thousands of years, those plants have been through the climactic conditions, developing adaptations to protect them from heat or cold, get along on more or less water, and propagate themselves to keep the string going. That is why the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, always recommends the use of plants native not only to North America (if you are gardening in North America) but also to the areas where those plants grow normally. It is also why there are few plants that we can recommend that would grow well in both Alaska and Arizona.

 

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