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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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Monday - August 07, 2006

From: Toronto, ON
Region: Canada
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native Merremia tuberosa
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Respected Sir, I have been trying to find the scientific name and a sapling of a plant which had "flowers that look like rose flowers but are brown in color and have a paper like texture"---I have seen these florals in India(Western region), we friends called them "woodroses".I don't think they had any fragrance.I have seen these at least about15-16 years back--when I was a school kid. I simply remember them as they did not wilt, now I want them in my backyard.Could you please help me identify this plant/tree and where can I get a sapling of this? I shall be extremelt grateful to you forever for this help---please help me. Thank you for your time.

ANSWER:

You must be talking about Merremia tuberosa, a vine from tropical America. Synonyms for this plant are: Ipomoea tuberosa and Operculina tuberosa. It is the dry fruits, not the flowers, that look like roses. If you do a Google search on the botanical name, you will find a number of sources, such as Aloha Tropicals, for seeds or plants.
 

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