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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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Thursday - July 05, 2012

From: Corpus Christi, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs, Trees
Title: Are Rhododendrons and Mountain Laurels native to the Texas/Mexico Border?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I'm trying to determine whether Rhododendrons, azaleas and mountain laurel grow around the Texas/Mexican border. Are they native to this region?

ANSWER:

The answer is no and yes ... sort of.

No species of Rhododendron (azaleas are all included in that genus) nor any species of Kalmia (the true Mountain Laurels) are native the the Texas/Mexico border region.  Sophora secundiflora, (syn=Calia secundiflora) commonly known as Texas Mountain Laurel and also Mescal Bean is native to Texas, New Mexico and Mexico and does occur in many parts of the border area.

 

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