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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

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 - May 08, 2012

From: Leander, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Shrubs
Title: Yellow-blossomed Shrub that Occurs in Arizona and Texas
Answered by: Becky Ruppel

QUESTION:

What is the name of the large shrubs you will see in Arizona with the bright yellow blossoms. They grow wild everywhere, and I also see them in the town. Could you please tell me the name of them, so I can look them up and get more information about them.

ANSWER:

There are a few kinds of shrubs that could be what you are seeing around.  However, it is very difficult to identify a plant without a sample of the plant or a picture. 

One thing that the shrub could be is a Palo Verde, Parkinsonia aculeata (Retama).  This shrub has unusual green bark and pretty yellow flowers and occurs in both Arizona and Texas.  Another shrub it could be is Larrea tridentata (Creosote bush), which is a much shorter than Palo Verde and has a very characteristic smell after it rains, though it may occur this far east.  It is also possible that you are seeing a small version of Acacia farnesiana (Huisache), since they are prolific bloomers this year.  Hopefully one of these is correct and it helps you find more information about this shrub.  

 

From the Image Gallery


Retama
Parkinsonia aculeata

Creosote bush
Larrea tridentata

Huisache
Vachellia farnesiana

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